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Based at the University Library, Digital Preservation at Cambridge University Libraries is about ensuring that digital materials within collections can be accessed by readers both now and in the future.

The Libraries create and acquire digital materials and metadata in a variety of formats and standards. Collection materials are vast and diverse, including digitised versions of print and physical artefacts within Special Collections; the research outputs of Cambridge University; born-digital archives from personal, corporate, and University donors; and more.

The role of CUL Digital Preservation is to

  • Establish and support services that ensure the current and ongoing access, use, and reuse of digital collection materials.
  • Engage library and University stakeholders about user and content requirements.
  • Embed good practice for ensuring the longevity of digital materials.
  • Communicate and collaborate with the wider digital preservation community to share knowledge and experience.

With large and diverse collections come many types of potential risks that could affect or prevent access to individual or groups of files. CUL Digital Preservation therefore takes the approach that the activities that help to ensure access to our collections are embedded from when the digital files are first created or acquired, right through to when they are accessed, used, and re-used. More information about this approach can be found in the CUL Digital Preservation Policy.

CUL Digital Preservation also carries out other work to support digital collection materials. The University Library is a co-partner on the National Library of Scotland led, and Wellcome Trust funded, Archive of Tomorrow project.

The University Library is also one of the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries, and CUL Digital Preservation contributes to activities and research to ensure ongoing access to materials collected as part of the UK’s electronic legal deposit collection.