Creating & Preserving Digital Collections
It is the policy of IWU’s Archives and Special Collections to promote and present
selective and/or representative records with historical significance to the University
in fully searchable, online collections when it is legally and financially possible
to do so. Examples of such records are meeting minutes from campus committees, official
publications from campus-connected organizations (student publications, honors research,
alumni publications, etc.), and photographs or other media. In cases where privacy
or confidentiality is a concern, such collections may be restricted to campus access
only but the default preference is towards open access whenever possible.
In the case of digitized materials*, we will preserve original artifacts in whatever
state they currently exist regardless of whether or not digital copies are created.
Where warranted by the significance of the record and likelihood of preserving the
content, conservation treatments needed to prevent deterioration may be attempted.
In the case of born-digital objects, our goal is to maintain long-term accessibility
to the unique digital collections created, purchased or acquired by the library for
which it has custodial or curatorial responsibilities.
This preservation policy aims to achieve the following objectives:
- preserving and providing continued access to digital material, both born digital and
- ensuring that preserved digital materials are authentic;
- preventing damage and deterioration of the physical media by ensuring adequate environmental
- creating digitized copies in formats that make future migration possible; and
- changing the format of digital materials to preserve their intellectual content if
We will make efforts to take the needs and desires of our community (including digital
content creators) into consideration when making preservation decisions; however,
as long as the library retains sole responsibility for caring for this content, we
assert decision making authority for
- formats we will accept as is and which ones we will normalize, if applicable, to protect
- levels of preservation/protection needed (storage vs. long-term, bit-level file management);
- access levels needed and who will provide access to off-line material; and
- preservation systems considerations (e.g., hosted or not, end-user accessible or not).
* Records that have been digitized for these purposes have been created from historical
master copies which may contain opinions, language, images, or other content that
the modern reader may find offensive or in other ways reflect the sensibilities and
capabilities of the creators in historical times. The IWU Archives presents these
documents as part of the historical record and does not endorse the attitudes expressed
therein. Furthermore, the Archives cannot alter historical records to suit contemporary
needs. In certain cases, it may be possible to add notes or comments correcting verified
errors, but these exceptions still will not be applied in a way that changes the appearance
of the authentic record.
Questions about this policy may be directed to University Archivist & Special Collections
Librarian Meg Miner at firstname.lastname@example.org; 309-556-1538.
Last updated May 11, 2015