Digital Preservation - Home

Two units at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have responsibility for maintaining the records in its holdings: Preservation, with the mandate to care for the physical holdings and perform preservation reformatting digitization of physical items, and Digital Preservation, with the mandate to support electronic records processing archivists, perform audits of the holdings, and assess the need to perform preservation actions.


Guidance to agencies plays a major role at the beginning of the Digital Preservation Lifecycle. An integral part of NARA’s digital preservation work is issuing guidance on all aspects of Federal electronic records management and transfer to NARA, including media types, file formats, and metadata.


NARA published its first Digital Preservation Strategy in June, 2017, to guide its internal operations. It outlines the specific strategies that NARA will use in its digital preservation efforts and specifically addresses Infrastructure, Format & Media Sustainability and Standards, Data Integrity, and Information Security. It applies to born-digital agency electronic records, digitized records from agencies, and NARA digitization for access and preservation reformatting.


Electronic Records collections require ongoing risk assessment and preservation planning. NARA has developed a framework for digital preservation risk assessment, and it is available for public comment.


PLEASE NOTE: The left-hand menu for the Digital Preservation pages differs from the rest of the Preservation pages and links to information devoted solely to digital preservation topics.