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  Preservation Procedure Policy: Decide on number of copies, geographical distribution and organisational distribution
Related Guidance Policy Bit Preservation
Definition/ Description One of the approaches in mitigating the risk of data loss is creating copies of the digital material distributed on different technology (e.g. one copy on tapes and one copy on disks), stored in different geographical locations and administered by different staff or organisations. It is important that active bit preservation takes place, including regular checks between the different copies etc. Sometimes there are restrictions to the geographical location where the copies can be stored, either legally (not out of the country) or practically (e.g. in the cloud or with external parties).
Why In order to keep data safe it is vital to avoid single points of failure. This can be avoided by making more copies, storing the copies in different locations and on different hardware/media and administering it by different staff.
Risks Keeping only one copy of digital material or keeping multiple copies in the same location endangers the preservation of the digital material as there will be single points of failure.
Life cycle stage Preservation Planning, Store
Stakeholder Technology Manager:responsible for ensuring the proper systems for bit preservation
Operational Manager/Information Operator/System Architect/Technology Operator/Solution Provider: responsible for administrating systems and performing bit preservation
Cross Reference Functional Preservation
Trustworthy Digital Repository
Examples State and University Library, Denmark : “The two copies will be stored by using different technologies, and the library makes sure that both copies are not controlled by the same organisational unit and/or person.” (Source:
Control Policy For collection x:
  • No-of-copies = 3
  • No-Geographic locations >= 3
  • Geographic locations SHOULD be in EU

    For collection z
  • No-of-copies = 4
  • No-Geographic locations = 4
  • Outsourcing IS allowed_ _
Questions to foster discussions
  • Does your organisation have procedures in place for duplication of digital material in the repository?
  • Does your organisation have procedures in place for storing copies in different geographical locations with different staff affiliated to the different copies?
  • Does your organisation have planned budget for the bit preservation activities?
  • Does your organisation have plans in place for monitoring the integrity between the copies?
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  1. Apr 14, 2014

    The term "replication" might be preferable to "copies"