Digital Preservation Policy

Introduction and Purpose

The iVoices project from the University of Arizona is aimed at exploring and sharing student stories about how technology and new media has influenced and been a part of their lives.

As a part of their coursework over a semester students create and record their own stories. Students also assist with the writing of the open education resource (OER) Humans are Social Media (HASM)- which was originally authored by Dr. Diana Daly.

As a result, iVoices has already accumulated a large volume of files that vary in privacy restrictions, copyright restrictions, and technical needs. This preservation policy has been developed with the lifespan of the project (Three years minimum) in mind as well as with the desire to ensure the safety, security, and accessibility of the media.

There are two elements to this project that will affect the type of media involved: Whether the project is for the OER, or if the media is for the podcast. The OER often contains mixed media including audio files, image files, video files, text, and H5P. Students are able to decide if they wish for their work to be included in the OER. The iVoices podcast contains files pertaining to audio-based storytelling. Files that need to be preserved in this situation are primarily audio and text.


What is digital preservation and why do we need it?

Dan Noonan from Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) University Archives defines digital preservation as a “combination of policies, strategies and actions to ensure access to and accurate rendering of...born digital content over time regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological changes” (Noonan). A preservation policy is a declaration of an organization’s dedication to this process.[1] The OSUL’s proposed framework serves as the framework for this policy.

Having a plan for digital information also ensures digital continuity. Which means that information can be found, opened, worked with, understood, and trusted to be “what it says it is” (The National Archives). As the iVoices project has reuse of student stories as a goal, the National Archives’ equation of “Usable = Available + Complete” becomes important. Simplified, this means that in order for a file to be usable for any purpose - it must be available (AKA being able to find the file and open the file) and trusted to be complete (Is everything important to use the file - media release forms - there? Is all the information there?).



There are two primary areas of responsibility for the iVoices project:

  • Preservation of Student Content: It is imperative that the content created by students is stored carefully. The information may be sensitive in nature, and students must feel comfortable that their stories will not be shared without their explicit permission. Special efforts are made to ensure that audio stories are deidentified and separated from their creator and that file naming conventions do not include identifying information.
  • Organized resources: Content created will continue to see life through reuse in podcast form or as an element of the OER. As such, continued access to files are important. Steps to ensure naming, proper tagging, and proper file organization must be taken. 



This preservation policy has been created to address four main objectives:

  • To preserve content for future accessibility, use, and reuse.
  • To ensure clear metadata standards to aid in the abidance of rights and privacy concerns.
  • To create a plan whereas future interns and employees of iVoices can maintain digital preservation standards.
  • To ensure the safety and longevity of all digital media within iVoices for the guaranteed lifespan of the project (three years minimum).



The priority for this preservation policy is on the iVoices program itself. Materials that fall under this umbrella include:

  • Student created content for Social Media and Ourselves and other related courses.
  • Intern and employee gathered and created music and sound effects to help with content creation.
  • Meeting minutes and internal documents created with intent to inform, educate, and teach future members of the iVoices project.
  • Project research including interviews and student surveys to inform the development of iVoices.



There are challenges that the iVoices project faces when it comes to digital preservation. These are:

  • Managing Students’ Privacy

Regardless if a student is comfortable with having their story shared, there is a baseline of protection that as a university-sponsored project we have a duty to uphold. Practices should always err on the side of more protection for a student and their privacy, which can limit the items available.

  • Shifting Staff

The iVoices project is staffed by a number of interns and assistants. This presents a problem as those who are responsible for continuing the project may not be aware of what has been done previously and what best practices have been implemented. This is why it is important to also maintain and preserve internal documents with clear explanations and instructions for new team members.

  • Amount of Content

There are over a hundred files that have been created and have been tagged and sorted by those working on the iVoices project. However, as the program grows there will be an increase in content, making it imperative to find an efficient way to store and review content.

  • Storage

With the ever-increasing amount of content, storage becomes an intimidating problem. The lack of space for an increasing number of files creates friction between saving files and creating new files. Common digital preservation tools, such as LOCKSS[2], need to be evaluated and assessed as viable options for keeping files safe and accessible.



iVoices operates under the following digital preservation principles, guided by the Digital Preservation Management Workshop. 

  • Access: Files must be accessible. This includes ensuring the ability to retrieve a file and the ability to keep files safe from corruption.
  • Longevity: Content will be preserved for at least the minimum length of the project (3 years).
  • Integrity: Content will not be misrepresented when used in future iVoices projects.  
  • Mission:  The content created will be used in alignment with the iVoices Mission.
  • Privacy: Students’ requests for privacy with their stories will be observed, and items without permission for use will be removed. Student stories also go through a de-identification process to ensure privacy.
  • Standards and Best Practices: iVoices will research and keep up-to-date with preservation standards suggested by OAIS[3], ISO, and research concerning the preservation of podcasts.
  • Training: iVoices has a responsibility to ensure that those working with the digital files have an understanding of digital best practices.


Roles and Responsibilities

While not everyone working on the iVoices project may be familiar with the needs and risks of digital content, it is up to those who are involved in the project to be able to communicate what is necessary for a secure digital file and store the permissions. Through programs like Slack, team members communicate who is responsible for which types of files. Separated into teams, different teams are responsible for the student content in the OER, in the podcast, and the research created as a result of the project. These roles are chosen by team members when they join the project.



iVoices thrives on a collaborative effort from students, interns, and instructors across a range of disciplines. Due to the amount of people involved in the project, it becomes imperative that a clear standard be implemented at the earliest outset to ensure a safety for the material and the ability to use and reuse the materials for further projects.


Selection and Acquisition


The iVoices collection of materials comes directly from students and interns. Selected materials are drawn from those that have been given permission to be used in the OER or in the podcast. The files that are ingested are in formats recommended by the Digital Preservation Coalition, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Duke University Libraries, and the University of Washington University Libraries. File formats will be closely monitored so as to prevent loss due to potential obsoletion as is suggested by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 


File Type         Preferred                      Accepted

Audio              .wav                             .mp3 (lossy)

Text                .PDF/A                          .PDF / .rtf

Video              Motion JPEG 2000      .MPEG4

Image             .tiff(uncompressed)      .jpg

H5P               .PDF/A                          .PDF



Files are submitted by students and the media lab, as well as from other creative commons resources. Students are asked if they are willing to have their stories used later on in projects for iVoices, and those files will be preserved for future use. Files from students who do not give permission will not be preserved. Files that are to be preserved are given a name in accordance to iVoices preservation standards in order to keep associated files (audio, transcripts, and release forms, for example) together.

The ingested files (the ones given permission to be preserved) then follows an OAIS model. There are three items in this digital preservation process that require attention: the submission information package (SIP), the archival information package (AIP), and the dissemination information package (DIP). The SIP can contain three important elements: the proper naming convention, inclusion of a transcript, and a media release form. Then the AIP can be stored and processed via the taxonomy created by the iVoices team. This will ultimately result in the DIP being ready to be retrieved based on the needs of the user for the next project.


Access and Use

The purpose of this repository is to ensure the safety and access of student stories for the lifespan of the iVoices project. Through ensuring that the acquisition process is adhered to, files can be kept organized. As both the OER and the podcast projects contain a range of file types that all need to work cohesively together to ensure the original intent and context is not lost, ensuring that related files can be connected with ease is essential. Following current and future research into podcast preservation can also help to advise the storage of finished projects.



The implementation of the preservation policy will be shared by those involved with iVoices. Naming conventions can be followed by students and checked by team members, while the archival and tagging can be both completed and checked by team members. By sharing the initial work for each SIP and AIP, the workload for each individual can stay minimal. 


Training and Education

With an increase in research on podcast preservation and with access to digital information certification seekers from the University of Arizona’s MLIS program, there is ample opportunity to ensure those managing the project are educated and trained in digital information preservation.


Statement of Financial Commitment

The iVoices project is funded by the University of Arizona through 2023, after which external funding will be sought.


Review Cycle

Before the beginning of each semester, files and permissions will be reviewed to ensure student privacy is adhered to as well as the acquisition process is followed. The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model is observed and followed through this process. As files are reviewed, they are observed for potential file obsoletion, corruption, as well as permissions are repaired, migrated, or disposed of as needed. Version control and files that have been transformed into a new form (ex. student audio that has been used in a podcast) are evaluated for their preservation needs.



AIP - Archival Information Package, what is stored in a system until summoned.

Born Digital - Things that were created in a digital environment - a picture taken on a phone vs. a picture developed at Walgreens.

Born This Way - A song by Lady Gaga. Not related to this. Not directly, anyway.

Digital Continuity - What the writers never get right. Just kidding. The process of ensuring that digital files are available for any reason at any time.

DIP - Dissemination Information Package, what is summoned from a system.

H5P - HTML5 Package.

Ingest - Another name for the banishing of a SIP to the AIP.  

ISO - International Organization for Standardization, you know, the place where the cool kids hang out.

Lossless - Files are kept without shedding data, resulting in larger files but a complete version of the original.

Lossy - Files are compressed, and are thus smaller but they lose data.

OAIS - The Open Archival Information System is a reference model for digital archival systems.

SIP -  Submission Information Package, what is banished to an AIP before it is summoned as a DIP.


Other Links

Bring out yer SIPS: An Introduction to Digital Preservation With Archivematica

Lots of Copies Kept Toy Story Safe.

The ‘Bit List’ of Digitally Endangered Species by the Digital Preservation Coalition


Preservation Policies Consulted

Dartmouth College Library. (2012, March 09). Digital Preservation Policy (2011)(NOTE: Current version of the Library's Digital Preservation Policy). Retrieved from…

Duke Digital Repository. (2020, January 2). Preservation Policy. Retrieved from… Policy

Indiana University Bloomington. (2017, March 28). Digital Preservation Policy. Retrieved from

James Madison University. (2015, May). Digital Preservation Policy. Retrieved from

McMaster University. (2020, November 09). Strategic Framework for Digital Preservation. Retrieved from

Purdue University Research Repository. (2012, February 23). PURR Digital Preservation Policy. Retrieved from

Virginia Tech University Libraries. (2021, February 3). Digital Preservation: DP Overview. Retrieved from



Digital Curation Centre. (2020). The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model [PDF]. Digital Curation Centre. Retrieved from…

Digital Preservation Coalition. (2020, February 26). File Formats Assessments. Retrieved from

Digital Preservation Handbook, 2nd Edition,, Digital Preservation Coalition © 2015.

Digital Preservation Management Workshop. (n.d.). DP Principles: Example. Retrieved from

Duke University Libraries. (2020, April 23). Recommended File Formats for Digital Preservation. Retrieved from…

Library of Congress. (n.d.). Recommended Formats Statement. Retrieved from

State Library of North Carolina and the State Archives of North Carolina. (n.d.). I Manage Digital Files. Retrieved from

Noonan, D. (2014). Digital Preservation Policy Framework: A Case Study. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from


Developed and Written by Paige Carlson, May 5th, 2021


[1] The American Library Association has a list of spiffy tips for how you can digitally preserve your own data, or data from your own projects.…

[2] LOCKSS - Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe, a program under Stanford Library.

[3] A detailed explanation of OAIS can be found written by Brian Lavoie here: A not detailed explanation of OAIS can be found in the Glossary if you haven’t seen it yet.