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Cambridge University Library


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!

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.

Digital preservation has been a developing area for the Libraries for many years. Funded by the Polonsky Foundation, the Digital Preservation at Oxford and Cambridge Project (2016 – 2018) placed three fellows at both the University Library and the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, to investigate the digital preservation needs of each institution. The research carried out resulted in recommendations for future digital preservation work in the areas of policy and planning, tools and workflows, as well as training and outreach.

Cambridge University Libraries has had a Digital Preservation team since autumn 2019 and during the summer of 2021 the team was expanded to deliver the CUL Digital Preservation Service. This work will entail using cloud and open-source software solutions to underpin activities that will enable current and long-term access to digital collection materials.

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.

The team shares information about its ongoing work on the CUL Digital Preservation blog. If you have any questions, or want to discuss possibilities for collaboration, please email