Digital preservation

The preservation of digital records presents new challenges for archives. Digital storage media are not stable, and digital file formats depend on hardware and software that quickly become obsolete. Record-keeping controls that existed in the paper world to ensure the authenticity and reliability of records are often lacking in a digital environment.

In 2016, SFU launched its digital repository to begin addressing some of these issues. Digital preservation goes beyond storage. It combines infrastructure, people, polices, strategies, and actions to ensure continuing access to materials across time and changes in technology. There is still much work in front of us, but SFU Archives is now positioned to carry its mandate into the world of modern digital records.

University records

All records of the university (paper or digital) are scheduled under Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authorities (RRSDAs). Digital records scheduled for Selective Retention or Full Retention by the Archives may be transferred to the repository at the end of their total retention period. Consult with the Records Management Archivist for more information.

Private records

Private donors of archival materials should think about the digital component of their records when developing a Donation Agreement with the Archives. Non-university digital records may be transferred to the repository if they are covered by an existing Donation Agreement. Consult with the Acquisitions and Outreach Archivist for more information.

Transfer utility

The Archives has developed a packaging tool to facilitate digital transfers. SFU MoveIt creates standardized transfer packages that implement the BagIt File Packaging and Storage Format. See the Digital transfer page or consult with the Staff Archivist for more information.