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  Preservation Procedure Policy: Deletion of objects
Related Guidance Policy
Digital object
Definition/ Description An organisation might have a policy for disposal or planned deletion of digital objects. This could be a consequence of preservation agreements or for example by legal mandate like in the archival world..  It is important that these decisions are recorded appropriately, and in case this is required by the user community, that there is some information that the object has been removed on purpose.
Why Managed disposal is part of activities required for collection management. There may be specific reasons why the object/collection has been removed, such as a change of remit of the organisation and the collection has been moved, or it might be that the organisation operates a retention and disposal policy.
Risks Managed deletion of objects ensures that the decisions behind the removal is recorded and there is less risk of objects not being available by error.
Life cycle stage Dispose
Stakeholder Management: will decide on the process
Collection Management (non Shaman): support management from point of view related to the content to preserve
Cross Reference Access, Provenance
Examples National Library of Australia : “(We) Will consider the following broad preservation action approaches that are likely to be required: (…)
 - Deaccessioning or deletion.” Source:

UK Data Service Preservation Policy: “In cases of the withdrawal of  a data collection,  the administrative metadata are updated, and the external view of the catalogue record is updated to reflect the change of status of the collection (with information about why the collection had been withdrawn, dates of its availability, and where appropriate reasons for withdrawal)” Source:
Control Policy For an object where it is not actually deleted, but not accessible, the following control policies may be valid:
  • All preservation events MUST be recordedIn this case access would be managed through the digital object management system.
Questions to foster discussions
  • Is there a policy in place that describes under which circumstances the organisation will delete objects from its collection
  • Is there a policy in place that descibres whether and which metadata will be created in case deletion of objects will occur? (for example provenance metadata)
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