The “Levels of Digital Preservation” being refined now by the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), is a tiered set of recommendations on how organizations should begin to build or enhance their digital preservation activities. A work in progress, it is intended to be a relatively easy-to-use set of guidelines useful not only for those just beginning to think about preserving their digital assets, but also for institutions planning the next steps in enhancing their existing digital preservation systems and workflows. It allows institutions to assess the level of preservation achieved for specific materials in their custody. It is not designed to assess the robustness of digital preservation programs as a whole since it does not cover such things as policies, staffing, or organizational support. The guidelines are organized into five functional areas that are at the heart of digital preservation systems: storage and geographic location, file fixity and data integrity, information security, metadata, and file formats.This paper presents the Levels, explains the context of the project's development within the NDSA, describes the rationale behind each of the guidelines and why they were prioritized the way they were, suggests how the guidelines may be used, and compares and contrasts the Levels to other ways of assessing stages of digital preservation. Other assessment models include Nancy McGovern and Anne Kenney's “The Five Organizational Stages of Digital Preservation,” Charles Dollar and Lori Ashley's “Digital Preservation Capability Maturity Model,” and OCLC Research's 2012 report, “You've Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media.” Finally, the paper requests feedback on the work in progress and outlines planned future work.
Megan Phillips, Jefferson Bailey, Andrea Goethals, Trevor Owens, "The NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation: Explanation and Uses" in Proc. IS&T Archiving 2013, 2013, pp 216 - 222, https://doi.org/10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2013.10.1.art00047