The University of Iowa Libraries Born-Digital Objects Policy

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I. Institutional Commitment
The University of Iowa Libraries actively identifies and preserves electronic and born-digital objects as part of the Libraries’ strategic plan to develop robust research collections in all formats. In order to meet the needs of researchers in the 21st century, the UI Libraries builds collections of digital resources and develops trustworthy strategies for preserving these resources for the long-term across library departments and campus libraries.

The UI Libraries provides access to intellectual content that fulfills the academic and research needs of its users. In fulfilling this mission, the Libraries selects, acquires, organizes, preserves, and provides access to collections in a broad range of formats; facilitates access to collections owned by other institutions; serves as a gateway and contributor to global networked information resources; provides assistance and education in information retrieval utilizing current technologies; and provides facilities conducive to learning and research.

II. Digital Preservation Objectives
The UI Libraries acquires and preserves born-digital objects that have been determined to be of long-term value to students, researchers, and Iowa’s communities, in accordance with the its collection development policies. By following the procedures described below, the UI Libraries adheres to standards and practices for digital preservation as outlined in Research Library Group/National Archives and Records Administration Audit Checklist for Certifying Trusted Digital Repositories, and conforms to requirements of the Open Archival Information System reference model. UI Libraries recognizes the potential of alternative approaches to digital preservation that may emerge in the field, and will continue to update its strategies.

The UI Libraries aims to preserve the information content of born-digital objects. The UI Libraries preserves the information content by creating usable preservation copies and periodically migrating the content held in an obsolete file or media format to a newer format, so that it remains accessible with each new generation of hardware and software.

The UI Libraries recognizes that how content in a digital file was created and used by its creator are important characteristics of the file and contribute to its evidentiary and research value. However, retaining these characteristics, as they were at the time the file was created, through time is a difficult objective given the current state of digital preservation knowledge and tools. Therefore, it is not our aim to emulate the experience of interacting with the information content by preserving software, hardware, original or carrier media, or documentation, including the speed, layout, display device, or input device characteristics.

III. Conditions of Submission
For each group of born-digital objects it receives, the UI Libraries will examine the objects to insure they comply with the collection development policies.

The Libraries’ ability to provide continued access to digital objects is dependent upon the technical quality and completeness of the data to be transferred. Corrupted data will not be accepted for long-term preservation. Files that are not essential to providing access to the content may be rejected and destroyed.

IV. Preservation Service

Digital objects are transferred from carrier media, examined by curatorial staff, and scanned for viruses. The file formats are validated and the basic sequences of binary digits that represent the file’s information, called the bit stream, is ingested.

Storage and Management
UI Libraries has a sustainable infrastructure (both technical and organizational) and a team of skilled professionals following the requisite policies and workflows needed to support current and future use of its digital objects.

Following best practices and workflows, digital objects are stored in stable, off-site networked storage operated by the University of Iowa Information Technology Service (ITS). Data on these servers is replicated automatically including block-level fixity checks. Access to each archive is highly restrictive and uses are logged and audited. The UI Libraries ensures that bit streams are regularly assessed and monitored, and that preservation copies remain renderable and usable through time, through the application of checksum routines and periodic format migration strategies.

Currently, the University of Iowa Libraries is compliant with at least Level One of each category of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Levels of Preservation.

The UI Libraries works closely with its peer institutions including the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) and is a founding member and contributor to the Digital Preservation Network (DPN).

V. Access and Terms of Use
The UI Libraries utilizes the best possible means to deliver born-digital objects including the use of the Iowa Digital Library and Iowa Research Online.