Joint Statement from Collaborating Digital Preservation Organizations

The CLOCKSS Archive is a charter member of a new and growing collaboration of higher-education and non-profit entities dedicated to digital preservation. We have pledged to emphasize what unites us and to actively seek ways that, by coordinating our efforts across the communities that we serve, can accelerate progress in preserving digital content at scales that will make a real difference. Below is a draft of our first product–a joint statement highlighting our commonly-held values. Given the breadth of our hopes in forming this collaboration, the joint statement below is just the starting point.

Joint Statement

The digital preservation landscape is one of a multitude of choices that vary widely in terms of purpose, scale, cost, and complexity. Over the past year a group of collaborating organizations united in the commitment to digital preservation came together to explore how we can better communicate with each other and assist members of the wider community as they negotiate this complicated landscape.

As an initial effort, the group drafted a Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values that is now being released for community comment. The text of the draft is below, and the live-working copy of the document is available here and open for your comments and suggestions. The comment period will be open until March 1st. In addition, we welcome suggestions from the community for next steps that would be beneficial as we work together. Comments, suggestions and observations may be communicated to the group at comdigpres@googlegroups.com. We also welcome volunteer efforts to translate this declaration into additional languages.

December 11, 2017

Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values

Issued by representatives of Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust), Chronopolis, CLOCKSS, Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), Digital Preservation Network (DPN), DuraSpace, Educopia/MetaArchive Cooperative, Stanford University – LOCKSS, Texas Digital Library (TDL), Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL).

Digital preservation combines policies, strategies, and actions that ensure access to digital content over time. When successful, digital preservation results in a cumulative record of human action and memory.

We are a group of collaborating organizations united in our commitment to preserve the cultural, intellectual, scientific and academic record for current and future generations. We believe that preservation should be sustainable, affordable, practical, and available to all. We provide services for the cultural heritage, research, and academic communities, and all kinds of scholars.

The mission of our shared work is rooted in a set of core values. These core values inform and direct our collective work:

  • Collaboration – We work together and favor open technologies but will collaborate with any organization, including commercial vendors, that share the values set out in this statement.
  • Affordability – We endeavor to provide affordable services.
  • Availability – We make available a variety of services for all, regardless of institutional size or technical ability.
  • Inclusiveness – We strive to promote and adopt inclusive practices in the partnerships we form, the collections we preserve, and the organizations we serve.
  • Diversity – We develop and deploy a variety of platforms and technologies to create a heterogeneous network that spans diverse geographic, technical, and institutional environments.
  • Portability/Interoperability – We recognize that digital preservation involves moving data across systems and time. We design and maintain our services to maximize the ease by which we port this data.
  • Transparency/information sharing – We share information about costs and technologies openly. As part of the cultural mission of digital preservation, we all benefit by learning from others’ experiences, good and bad.
  • Accountability – We are responsible to each other and the broader community for employing ethical and transparent business practices.
  • Stewardship Continuity – We will collaborate to help identify new locations for at-risk content when one of our organization’s stewardship cannot continue.
  • Advocacy – We aim to inspire stakeholders at every level to engage, invest in, and sustain preserving our collective cultural heritage and academic record.
  • Empowerment – We encourage capacity-building in our partners, members, and the larger digital preservation community to sustain our shared goal.

Purpose of the Declaration of Shared Values

Values and professional ethics are at the core of our work and guide our practices.

This declaration accomplishes the following:

  • Summarizes ethical principles that reflect our core values and establishes a set of specific ethical standards that should be used to guide our efforts.
  • Helps identify relevant considerations when professional obligations conflict or ethical uncertainties arise.
  • Provides ethical standards to which our community can hold us accountable.
  • Socializes practitioners new to the field to our mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards.

Further, the declaration of shared values does not specify which values, principles, and standards are most important and ought to outweigh others in instances when they conflict. Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among our community. We will work together to resolve those conflicts in ways that support and promote our common goal.

Our work and thinking will evolve over time. We will strive to include stakeholders from all over the world and we invite those interested to join us in working together to preserve the collective human record. Contact our group at comdigpres@googlegroups.com to ask questions and/or participate.