Definition of digital preservation announced

Contact: Charles Wilt
ALCTS Executive Director
(312) 280-5030

For Immediate Release
June 16, 2008

CHICAGO - The Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) is pleased to announce the publication of a definition of digital preservation. The definition is available on the ALCTS Web site at

The definition was developed to promote an understanding of digital preservation within the library community, as well as our allied professions and the user communities we exist to serve. This definition is presented to mark our current understanding of digital preservation and encourage further development of these ideas.

This definition grew out of a conversation held at the Digital Preservation Discussion Group at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in 2007. An ad hoc task force crafted language that was shared with a number of constituencies during the spring and early summer of 2007. The definition was discussed and approved by the PARS Executive Committee during the 2008 Midwinter Meeting in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Philadelphia. The ALCTS Board of Directors approved it during Midwinter, and the definition was presented to and accepted by Council as an informational document. The definition is being incorporated into the forthcoming revision of the current ALA Preservation Policy currently being undertaken by PARS.

The working group studied a number of resources to familiarize itself with the critical elements of digital preservation identified by a broad selection of individuals and agencies. These ideas were cast into language that speaks to a wide variety of stakeholders while also being consistent with the core preservation concepts that have developed in the library and archival communities.

The core concepts are presented in a short, medium and long version to accommodate a variety of needs. The long version includes a number of currently accepted best practices but is not intended to be an exhaustive list. As more is learned about implementing digital preservation programs, the definitions should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis.

The definition will be reviewed and updated as needed.

ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association.