Montana Memory Project Digital Preservation Policy

MMP - Digital Preservation Policy


Preservation of existing digital master files makes it possible to ensure digital collections will live on despite changes in technology.    


It is the policy of the Montana State Library (MSL) that contributors to the Montana Memory Project (MMP) guarantee that they ensure preservation of digital master files.        

MMP Archival Storage option:  

MSL provides the MSL Preservation Archive for MMP contributors to share copies of master files with MSL to store on their behalf. This copy will be maintained and available for recovery purposes. The redundant archival storage system makes use of regular fixity checks to validate the integrity of the master files. Utilizing the MSL Preservation Archive gives institutions some assurance that their digital copies will continue to be freely available well into the future.    The MMP Preservation Archive should not be considered the sole archive copy.    


All Montana Memory Project Contributors are invited to participate in the use of MSL Preservation Archive.    


The primary objectives of the MSL Preservation Archive program are to: 

  • Preserve digital Montana Memory Project assets that are either born-digital or digitized

  • Retain a copy of the original bitstream of born-digital material for authenticity purposes, as well as potential access in the future     

  • Maintain machine-readable records in formats that are acceptable for long-term preservation and access     

  • Make strategic decisions based on long-term resources, system sustainability, and identify efficiencies, to establish processes and technologies that support both the Trusted Digital Repository standard (ISO 16363) and the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model (ISO 14721)     

  • Ensure record authenticity through preservation and technical solutions that promote and maintain composition (especially for assets with multiple objects or files), lineage, fixity, and validity 

  • Establish operational processes and procedures to meet archival requirements pertaining to provenance, the chain of custody, authenticity, and integrity     

  • Provide tools that facilitate the discovery of online digital assets from the State Library and the contributors to the Montana Memory Project     

  • Define policies and procedures for the preservation and availability of digital assets while maintaining intellectual property ownership and rights     

  • Make strategic decisions based on long-term resources, system sustainability, and identified efficiencies to maintain a technical and operational infrastructure based on the conceptual framework of ISO 14721 Open Archival Information System (OAIS)  

  • Automate preservation processes as technical capabilities and resources—financial and human—allow 

  • Support and manage storage media for archival copies (preservation master, security copies, and access copies) in accordance with environmental, quality control, security, and other standards

  • Sustain a storage architecture that provides strategically selected redundancy in the event of technical failure, natural disaster, or human error.     


The MSL Preservation Archive is responsible for identifying, securing, and providing the means to preserve and ensure ongoing access to digital assets. Digital assets are those electronic objects that have been identified as having cultural, historical, informational, and/or evidentiary value to the State of Montana and have been shared with the public through the Montana Memory Project. Examples of digital assets may include maps, photos, rare books, documents, publications, diaries, oral histories, audio recordings, video recordings, paintings, illustrations, art, and other cultural materials.     


With the ever-growing volume of digital information, the State Library may need to allocate priorities for preservation action based on the relative significance of digital assets and the technical complexity of preserving and ensuring access to those assets. 

Collection Development Priorities: 

All content uploaded to the Montana Memory Project should have copies of master digital files stored in archival storage.    

Materials Preserved: 

  1. Born-digital materials 
  2. Digitized materials (not available in analog) 
  3. Digitized materials (available in analog) 

Roles and Responsibilities: 

Montana State Library 

The State Library will maintain the MSL Preservation Archive through the State of Montana Data Centers. Each contributing institution will have a storage folder for their assets and corresponding metadata.  All assets will be checked at regular intervals for fixity and degradation. When issues are discovered, immediate recovery efforts will be initiated. 

Upon request, copies of assets can be delivered back to the contributing institution either through an online upload or via a portable storage device provided by the contributor. Requests for retrieval should be submitted in writing and contributors are limited to two requests per year. 

Upon request, contributor data may be deleted from the MSL Preservation Archive through a Memorandum of Understanding with the contributor and the Montana State Library. Files will be removed promptly from the removable hardware and the MSL Preservation Archive. Backups will remain but will eventually be removed as old backups rollover to new backups. This process is likely a year-long automated process with a month of daily backups and a year of monthly backups to expire. These backups affect many others and will not be modified to accommodate immediate global file removal. 

Montana Memory Project Contributors 

The MMP contributors will share master copies with the Montana State Library through an online upload or delivery on a portable storage device. These assets will then be copied to the data center.  As contributors add new content, they will be responsible for sharing the new assets with MSL to be added to the MSL Preservation Archive.     


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