Notice: All students, staff, and faculty must scan their MSU ID to access the MSU Library building between 10:00 pm – 7:30 am on Sunday - Thursday.
Notice: All students, staff, and faculty must scan their MSU ID to access the MSU Library building between 10:00 pm – 7:30 am on Sunday - Thursday.
Michigan State University Libraries
Conservation & Preservation
366 W. Circle Dr.
East Lansing , MI 48824
United States

Digital Preservation at MSU Libraries


MSU Libraries provides an ongoing program of digital preservation to support the current and future use of digital content which the Libraries has a mandate or responsibility to preserve. This content includes:

  • unique, rare, or valuable digital content in MSU Libraries’ collections
  • content of enduring value created at MSU Libraries
  • permanent institutional records held in the MSU Archives
  • digital content MSU Libraries is responsible for as a result of laws, regulations, contracts, or other agreements


Digital preservation is a process supported by people and infrastructure. MSU Libraries commits to hiring and training employees to develop and maintain the expertise needed to support an effective digital preservation program.

MSU Libraries will likewise develop and maintain technical infrastructure and standards-based processes to:

  • Securely store, backup, and restore digital content
  • Create and verify integrity and fixity information to prevent or identify content loss
  • Document provenance and rights information about digital content
  • Create and maintain metadata to manage digital content and context over time
  • Identify and verify file formats and other essential characteristics of digital content to inform preservation priorities and actions
  • Monitor for obsolescence in digital content and physical carriers, and perform activities such as digitization, migration, and emulation to ensure that essential content remains available
  • Enact a succession plan in the event that digital preservation staffing or software can no longer be maintained


We recognize that not all digital content can or should be preserved perpetually, and we commit to sustainability, strategic evaluation, and prioritization of our digital preservation activities. We consider staffing and technology requirements, cost of preservation, format and size of files, potential for future use, and institutional priorities when evaluating content for digital preservation efforts.

We prioritize the preservation of digital content that has any of the following characteristics:

  • Held as part of a legal responsibility, institutional mandate, or partner agreement
  • Born-digital (has no existing analog version)
  • Has a high risk of loss or is stored on obsolete or decaying carriers
  • Unique, rare, or very difficult to replace
  • Can be made available publicly through MSU Libraries’ catalog, website, and other systems


Digital preservation is part of MSU Libraries’ commitment to responsible stewardship of all its collections, regardless of format. A successful digital preservation program requires dedicated staff and coordination within the Libraries, partnerships at the campus level and beyond, and engagement in the broader digital preservation community.

This policy will be supported and enacted by the procedures, activities, and documentation of those involved in digital preservation at MSU Libraries. The MSUL Digital Preservation Working Group maintains this policy and will review and suggest necessary changes every three years, or more frequently if necessary.

Approved 2/2020