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Cultivate, assess, advocate, implement, and sustain: A five-point plan for successful digital preservation collaborations

Sara Mannheimer (Library, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA)
Conor Cote (Library, Montana Tech of the University of Montana, Butte, Montana, USA)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




For libraries with limited resources, digital preservation can seem like a daunting responsibility. Forming partnerships can help build collective knowledge and maximize combined resources to achieve digital preservation goals. This paper aims to provide guidance to help libraries with limited resources achieve digital preservation goals by forming partnerships to build collective knowledge and maximize combined resources.


In 2015, librarians from four Montana institutions formed the Digital Preservation Working Group (DPWG), a collaboration to increase digital preservation efforts statewide. The group’s immediate goals were to promote digital preservation best-practices at each individual institution, and to learn about and support each other’s work. The group’s long-term goal was to implement a shared digital preservation service that would fill gaps in existing digital preservation efforts.


Beyond the cost savings gained by sharing a digital preservation service, the members of DPWG benefitted from shared knowledge and expertise gained during the partnership. The group also functioned as a sounding board as each institution built its digital preservation program, and it became a system of support when challenges arose.


This paper proposes a five-point plan for creating digital preservation partnerships: cultivate a foundation of knowledge and identify a shared vision; assess the current digital preservation landscape at each institution; advocate for the value of digital preservation activities; implement shared digital preservation services; and sustain group activities and establish structures for ongoing support.


The activities of DPWG provide a model for institutions seeking to collaborate to meet digital preservation challenges. This paper shows that by implementing a structured plan, institutions can build and sustain digital preservation partnerships, thus positioning themselves to achieve digital preservation success.



The authors wish to thank fellow members of the Montana Digital Preservation Working Group – past and present – for their partnership: Erin Baucom, Christine Kirkham, Donna McCrea, Sam Meister and Tammy Troup. The authors also wish to thank the members of the Skylight peer-mentoring group at Montana State University for their feedback and support: Ryer Banta, Kirsten Ostergaard and Scott W. H. Young.


Mannheimer, S. and Cote, C. (2017), "Cultivate, assess, advocate, implement, and sustain: A five-point plan for successful digital preservation collaborations", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 100-116.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Sara Mannheimer and Conor Cote

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