Selecting Assets for Preservation

Digital objects can be complex, with shifting or poorly-defined boundaries. They can be ephemeral or can mutate. Their long-term value can be hard to predict.

Selecting assets for preservation

Organizations are investing in the future of the digital assets they select for preservation. These decisions should be well-informed, consistent, reevaluated over time, and documented. Selection protocols should be developed to assess the value of the digital objects to the organization.


0101 Protocols and tools to support and enable selection of digital assets should continue to be developed and refined with use. Archival appraisal criteria, library selection criteria, museum acquisition criteria—all of these are the essence of rule-based tools. Once decisions are made, ingest tools should be ready to apply those rules.

$$$$ Organizations need to invest wisely in the digital assets they select for long-term preservation. Some digital objects may be more difficult—and therefore more costly—to preserve if the creators fail to adhere to standards, choose new or unproven formats, rely heavily upon complex software to be read and understood, or lack sufficient documentation to be readily included in the digital archives. Failure to account for the extra time and money needed to address these factors can lead unexpectedly to extensive processing or the inability to preserve the digital objects.


1. Does your organization have a policy that governs the acceptance of digital assets into the digital preservation program?

2. Can you identify a tool, existing or in development, that has potential for automatically selecting and evaluating digital content?