Methodological diagram of the preservation of complex digital objects Français English Deutsch

Technological watch 

Systematically be informed about the development of new technologies and software on the market.

Check-list :
Test the file(s) in its original environment (see Inspection) and then in the last available environment
Check the compatibility
Analyze, check and validation of results

Purchase spares

Purchase spares or whole equipment (same year, same model or equivalent).

Purchase the more obsolete, the more expected to fail or the rarest spares and equipment first
Stored spares and equipment in suitable conservation environment (see storage and manipulation guideline)


Digital Curation

Involves ongoing processes of selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital objects.

Follow the established naming conventions and make sure to include the file extension
Logical organization of the documents
Creation of metadata
Creation of sustainable documentation by using XML metadata (MANS or PANIC)

Useful links:
IMAP preservation guideline, Computer-based art, metadata
DDC, Digital Curation Centre


Regularly check that the files, software or other operating systems and technological components are in working order.

Check-list :
Turn on the equipment on a regular basis, as well as read the files and software
Establish a schedule according to the hardware’s and software’s risks analysis
Detection of issues and establishing solutions (following the conservation plan)
Regression testing for migrate, emulate, virtualized and ported objects (see Curative Conservation)

Useful link : IMAP Preservation Guideline, Computer-based art, Inspections

Storage guideline for technological devices:

  • Constant temperature (18-20°C)
  • Relative humidity around 45%
  • Stable and spacious shelf
  • Light and dust protections
  • Unplug devices
  • Remove the batteries
  • Remove dust clogging the vents
  • Remove the capacitors
  • Packaging suitable for storage and transportation (shock, vibration ...)
  • Labeling equipments and packaging boxes (name of work, inventory number of the work, inventory number and description of the equipment ...)
  • To avoid dissociation, the best practice is to pack all the items in one box

Manipulation guideline:

  • Use a quality electrical installation
  • Check voltage and amperage before plugging
  • Protect against power surges
  • Check the condition of cables and connectors
  • Do not turn on and off repeatedly (overheating)
  • Use the lowest brightness and contrast acceptable
  • Wear gloves when handling electronic components (static electricity)

Useful link : PACKED, Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage

Redundant data backup

In a redundant backup, identical data are stored on several different stable backup media.

Evaluate the supporting media
Check the copy ones is backed up
For program backup, don't forget to also backup the software environment in which it is readable (operating system and drivers)

Useful links :
IMAP preservation guideline, Computer-based art, redundancy
Docam, Evaluation of supporting Media