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The Smith College Libraries promote research and discourse by leading the campus in acquiring, organizing and making scholarly resources accessible. Ensuring longevity and usability of our collections is a primary objective. Preservation activities cover conservation and maintenance of book and print collections as well as digital preservation of born-digital and reformatted content.

Preservation in Practice

Digital preservation is the active management of digital content over time. It combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure access to reformatted and born digital content regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change. The goal of digital preservation is the accurate rendering of authenticated content. [from American Library Association and Library of Congress]

The College Libraries, in partnership with Information Technology Services, is developing strategies for the long-term management and access of digital materials stewarded by the Libraries and other digital content created by or about Smith College faculty, staff, and students that might require preservation. Individual faculty, students, and staff are responsible for preserving their own personal digital materials.

  • The Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust (EAST)
    Smith College is a member of EAST, a shared print initiative involving academic and research libraries in New England, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. EAST is focused on retaining unique, scarcely held and frequently used scholarly monographs and serials in support of scholarship, research and teaching.
  • Ensuring long-term access to E-Journals and E-Books
    Smith College Libraries is a member of Portico, an international digital archive that provides electronic archiving of select e-journals and e-books in our Smith collection. Trigger events such as catastrophic and sustained failure of a publisher’s delivery platform are covered to ensure sustainable access to content.
  • Archiving College Websites
    Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College are partnering with the Archive-It Web Archiving Service, for collecting and accessing our online presence through time. Smith College websites, including at-risk ephemeral sites created by and about the Smith community are being preserved for research and scholarship.
  • Developing Policies for Digital Preservation
    The Libraries are working with campus stakeholders to develop policies in support of digital preservation. Policies document Smith's commitment to preserve digital content for future use. In specifying formats to be preserved and the level of preservation to be provided we can ensure compliance with standards and best practices for responsible stewardship. Current policies related to Digital Preservation include the College Archive's Records Management Policy.
  • Preserving unique audio and video archives
    The Smith Special Collections are digitizing video and audio tapes at risk for deterioration. The materials are selected based on research value and format obsolescence. These materials, previously inaccessible, are now available for in-house viewing or online streaming, for example this original footage from filmmaker Nancy Hamilton's (Smith '30) documentary on Helen Keller. The Special Collections also are adopting best practices for preserving born-digital content that they collect.
  • Collecting and preserving born-digital content
    The Smith College Special Collections are working with donors to collect and preserve born-digital content including documents, data, images, and av media
  • Participating in Five College collaborative opportunities
    A Five College Digital Stewardship Committee (reporting to the Five College Librarians Council) is charged with exploring collaborative opportunities for digital preservation.
  • Staying informed and up-to-date in the community
    The Smith College Libraries is a member of the National Digital Stewardship Association (NDSA). Smith staff participate in regional and national educational events.

Learn More about Preservation

The Signal: Digital Preservation blog
A hub for the digital preservation community, including interviews with thought leaders, announcements about new tools, and preservation tips for experts and beginners.

Personal Archiving
Helpful tips from the Library of Congress on archiving your personal photos, music, and videos and more.

Questions about Digital Preservation?