This product category is produced when original records are at risk for loss of information, typically due to deterioration and/or obsolescence (e.g., cellulose diacetate film and analog audio recordings).
Digital preservation master files are created at high-to-maximum capture specifications and can therefore serve a variety of purposes, including satisfying long-term preservation needs, as well as fulfilling most user requests for high-quality files.
Preservation master files may capture additional information about the original record beyond the content itself, such as information printed on the edge of a film. Because they are created to high capture standards, preservation master files could take the place of the original record if the original is/were to be destroyed, damaged, or not retained. Preservation masters typically do not undergo significant processing or editing.
Analog preservation masters are created from the most original and/or complete record copy available. Analog preservation masters are used to create reproduction master copies that satisfy most customer requests, as well as protect the original from loss of information. In most cases, the preservation master is not accessed directly unless a reproduction master copy does not exist or is damaged, destroyed, or otherwise compromised.
Preservation masters are often used to make other copies, including reproduction master and distribution copies. Both physical format and digital preservation masters are managed and maintained in a secure storage environment and are retained over the long term.