Bodleian Libraries digital policies: Preservation

The Bodleian Libraries preserves its digital collections with the same level of commitment as it has preserved its physical collections over many centuries. Digital preservation is essential to the Libraries' ability to support current and future research, teaching and learning.


a) The Bodleian Libraries will ensure the authenticity and integrity of the digital materials in its care so that these can be located, accessed, used and reformatted as necessary. The Libraries will, wherever possible, provide active management to preserve additional features of digital materials.

b) The Bodleian Libraries will store digital materials safely adopting security mechanisms appropriate to each class of material. As with the Libraries' physical collections, some materials require secure management and embargo periods.

c) Responsibility for the curation of digital materials lies primarily with relevant experts, who develop and manage collections, have responsibility for service policies, and are the primary point of contact for creators and users of digital materials. Appropriate advice, guidance, support and training will be available to staff involved in digital preservation processes. It is appropriate that certain digital materials managed by the Libraries be preserved by, or in co-operation with, third-parties.

d) The Bodleian Libraries' Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) infrastructure is the natural home for all Libraries-managed services requiring digital preservation. The DAMS handles the diversity of digital materials held by the Libraries, while providing a common framework in which developments can be shared among services.

e) The Bodleian Libraries foster partnerships within the University of Oxford and with organisations around the world to further the state of the art in digital preservation. Organisations that we work with include our peer institutions, as well as digital preservation specialists such as the Digital Preservation Coalition, Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe Programme (LOCKSS), and the Open Planets Foundation.

f) The application of digital preservation techniques is determined partly by the qualities and requirements of the digital materials that form part of the Libraries' internationally important research collections (see 'Scope' of this policy below). Preservation policies and procedures will be applied as appropriate for each category of digital material taking into account likely future uses of the material.


Material held by the Bodleian Libraries

Digital material

All data held in the DAMS will fall under this policy

Bodleian Libraries' Service

See Appendix for preservation service profile

Born-digital material from a range of significant personal and organisational archival collections.

Bodleian Electronic Archives & Manuscripts (BEAM)

Administrative records of the University collected by Oxford University Archives

Bodleian Electronic Archives & Manuscripts (BEAM)

Digital research outputs such as publications, research data and software produced by researchers at the University of Oxford

Oxford University Research Archive (ORA), ORA-Data.

Digitised images - surrogates for physical items from Oxford or external affiliated collections.


Digitized texts - image and/or full-text surrogates for physical items from Oxford or external affiliated collections.

Web sites produced by, or of interest to, the academic community at the University of Oxford.

Bodleian Libraries' Web Archive (BLWA)

Complex online resources which continue to be actively accessed and updated.

Bodleian Libraries' hosting

Handheld media - published materials deposited on handheld media (acquired through legal deposit, purchase or gift)

Conventional physical preservation measures applied (i.e. as for physical books and manuscripts).

Purchased or donated digital files in PDF (and possibly other formats) containing standalone ebooks, ejournal articles or non-Oxford etheses.

The Libraries' E-resources area of Weblearn ( or subject-specific areas (e.g.

Metadata important to the management and discovery of resources.

Numerous. Includes finding aids for archives & manuscripts, Oxford research management information, ORA Data.

Other materials to which the Libraries provide access

Digital material

Relevant Partner Service

Electronic Resources comprising paid-for, externally supplied, journals, e-books and databases obtained via subscription and backfiles of paid-for resources acquired by the Libraries

Access is typically maintained via escrow terms embedded in the licence. Escrow copies may be held by distributed mechanisms (e.g. LOCKSS) or by independent custodians (e.g. Portico or national libraries).[1] Not all providers, such as smaller publishers, use such services.

Electronic Legal Deposit (eLD) - digital materials deposited as a result of legal deposit legislation

These materials are stored and preserved primarily using a shared technical infrastructure developed by the Legal Deposit Libraries.

University of Oxford library catalogue metadata are excluded from this policy. This data is backed up but not preserved.

Relationship with other policies

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Digitization Policy, the Digital Architecture Policy, and the Policy on the Management and Preservation of Research Data and Records. It also has a relation to the Collection Management Policy which is overseen by the Collection Management Strategy Group (CMSG), and the Information Security Policy, overseen by the Bodleian Technical Architecture Group (BTAG).


 (1) Responsibility: The Digital Library Steering Group is responsible for ensuring effective auditing procedures for the Libraries' digital preservation provisions. Auditing shall be conducted on a self-audit basis, for example through internal audits and knowledge-exchange activities with other comparable institutions. The Libraries aim to deploy a formal accreditation and audit of its digital preservation capabilities.

(2) Oversight: Digital collections have the same significance as physical collections to the Bodleian Libraries. As such the Curators of the University Libraries have the ultimate responsibility to ensure long-term access to digital collections. Day-to day oversight of this policy, and related service-level policies, lies with the Digital Library Steering Group and the Academic Library Services Strategy Group.

(3) Validation: The Digital Library Steering Group will report the outcome of audit activities on an annual basis to the Bodleian Libraries Executive and Cabinet committees in order that the Libraries' risk register can be amended and any actions and recommendations can be considered and implemented as appropriate.

(4) Review: This policy will be reviewed before the end of each calendar year by the Digital Library Steering Group. 

(5) Editor and primary contact for the Digital Preservation Policy:

Appendix: Bodleian Libraries Digital Preservation Services Profile

Version 1.2. Updated Apr 2014.

[1] Portico has its own preservation policy. See

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