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  Preservation Procedure Policy: Defining Policy for Disaster Recovery
Related Guidance Policy Bit preservation
Definition/ Description When performing bit preservation it is vital to have a policy describing the measures taken in relation to whether disaster recovery procedures are in place and tested. The organisation needs to know what to do when data loss occurs, e.g. caused by bit rot, natural disaster or accident. The loss could be discovered by regular checksum checks. Procedures need to be in place for how the organisation will decide which copy is intact and which is damaged, who should make the final decision for what to preserve and what to discard of, and how new authoritative copies are created. This is very much related to IT processes in the organisation.
Why To keep the integrity of the digital material in the repository intact it is important to react promptly and appropriately when bit errors occur and a policy on this issue could help prevent total loss.
Risks Lack of recovery procedures endangers the integrity of the digital material and the trustworthiness of the repository.
Life cycle stage Curate and preserve, 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
Organisation – Risk Management
Examples UK Data Service (2012): “Disaster Recovery Procedures are in place”  (Source:
Wellcome Trust Preservation Policy: “The Library Business Continuity Team is responsible for ensuring that contingency plans and procedures are in place to prevent, react to and recover from emergency situations that may have an adverse effect on the Library collections. Details of Disaster Preparedness, Asset Recovery and prevention procedures can be found in the Wellcome Trust’s Business Continuity Plan.
(Source: )
Control Policy Once the procedures as described are in place, it would be possible to generate specific control policies.
Questions to foster discussions
  • Has your organisation defined a policy for disaster recovery procedures?
  • Has your organisation procedures in place for deciding which copy is intact and which damaged in case of disaster?
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