Digital preservation is not a simple task. Since at least 1995 there has been a demand for a way to judge whether a repository is doing it properly. Funders of repositories and those who entrust their valuable digitally encoded information to them urgently need to know whether their funds and their faith is well founded. Stakeholders need to know if the repository is worthy of trust.
The digital holdings could for example be the entire intellectual capital of an enterprise or the results obtained from many research careers and billions of Euros/Dollars. Their loss could be catastrophic and certification provides:
Those who fund repositories or who deposit their valuable resources
- reassurance where it is warranted – and warnings where trust is not warranted. gives some comfort that someone besides the repository managers can tell them that the repository has (or has not) been doing a good job;
- this goes beyond simply how well the bits will be preserved, instead the reassurance is that the digitally encoded information will be usable into the future;
- rather than a simple yes or no, the audit identifies areas which need improvement.
- something to show to funders and users
- advice on where improvements are needed
Some of these recommendations may be a revelation to the repository managers, others may be well understood and be helpful to those managers to make the case for additional resources or changed priorities to their funders.