Digital Preservation

What is digital preservation?
Digital preservation combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure the most accurate rendering possible of authenticated content over time, regardless of the challenges of file corruption, media failure and technological change. Digital preservation applies to content that is born digital or converted to digital form.

Digital Preservation Guidelines
In 2015, Recollection Wisconsin started the Memory Project to digitize items of cultural significance. After the project went underway, discussions arose about what to do with the digital objects once they are uploaded onto ContentDM. In the 2018, Recollection Wisconsin started a new project called Curating Community Digital Collections as a way to provide masters students at UW-Madison’s iSchool and UW-Milwaukee’s SOIS “practical experience in digital stewardship and increase the capacity of small libraries and cultural heritage organizations to curate their digital collections.”

The first step towards being able to preserve digital collections is creating guidelines and best practices to follow. This summer, iSchool student Kristina Warner and OWLSnet Manager Amanda Lee, worked alongside other information professionals to develop a set of guidelines for OWLS to follow. The guidelines will be evolving as technology advances, and best practices change. Any changes to the guidelines will be share with every site, but the general timeframe for changes to this document are outline within the guidelines.

If you have any questions, or recommendations, feel free to contact the OWLSnet Manager.


Digital Preservation Guidelines (pdf)

Digital Preservation Workflow
The Digital Preservation Workflow documentation was created in the summer of 2018 to help member libraries with digitizing and preserving their own collections. While OWLS plans on helping each library by preserving a copy of the archivable files (.tift/.txt/metadata), we wanted to share the tools and knowledge with everyone in hopes that each site can work towards preserving their digital assets. This documentation will be changing over the years as new best practices are created, however, these recommendations are a great starting point for all libraries.

Digital Preservation Workflow (pdf)
Inventory template (Excel)
Metadata template (Excel)

How-to Guides
These how-to guides and digital preservation workflow infographic were created by our practicum student, Kristina, to help you with digitization efforts, digital preservation, and to use software programs Exactly and Fixity.

Digital Preservation Workflow Infographic (pdf)
Exactly (pdf) 

Fixity (pdf)
Scanning (pdf)


Advanced Renamer
Abbyy Finereader 

Transferring Collections and Collection Inventory

When transferring digital collections to OWLS, please make sure to inform the OWLSnet Manager ( that you are sending digital collections. We prefer collections to be transfer by external hard drive or Do not send files via thumb drives as they can become corrupt quickly. If you prefer to transfer via external hard drive, email the OWLSnet Manager to send you one through red box. When sending new digital collections, please fill out a collection inventory and send this with your digital collection.


Inventory template (Excel)


Additional Resources
Recollection Wisconsin and practicum student, Kristina, compiled additional resources for understanding digital preservation. If you have any great resources, please feel free to share them.


Additonal Resrouces (pdf)

Memory Projects Digital Collections
Door County
Oconto Falls