Skip to main content
Unpublished Paper
From Theory to Action: “Good Enough” Digital Preservation Solutions for Under-Resourced Cultural Heritage Institutions
  • Jaime Schumacher, Northern Illinois University
  • Lynne M. Thomas, Northern Illinois University
  • Drew VandeCreek, Northern Illinois University
  • Stacey Erdman, Northern Illinois University
  • Jeff Hancks, Western Illinois University
  • Aaisha Haykal, Chicago State University
  • Meg Miner, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Patrice-Andre Prud’homme, Illinois State University
  • Danielle Spalenka, Northern Illinois University

**Winner of the 2015 SAA Preservation Publication Award and the 2015 NDSA Innovation Award, Organization category***; see and

Libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage organizations collect, create, and steward a rapidly increasing volume of digital content. Both research conclusions and professionals’ real-life experiences expose the inherent fragility of this content. The cultural heritage and information science communities have developed guidelines, best practices, policies, procedures, and processes that can enable an organization to achieve high levels of digital preservation. However, these protocols are often complex, leaving many practitioners attempting to address the challenge of preserving digital materials feeling overwhelmed. This is particularly true for professionals serving smaller institutions that are often operating with restricted resources like small staff sizes, a lack of specialized expertise, dated technical infrastructures, and/or limited budgets. This white paper is the result of a three year investigation, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, of affordable, scalable digital preservation solutions that can be successfully implemented at under-resourced organizations. It reports the results of large-scale testing of several digital preservation tools and services, suggests pragmatic digital preservation options, including an incremental approach to digital preservation practices, and asserts that communities of practice are key to success.

Publication Date
August 27, 2014
Citation Information
Jaime Schumacher, Lynne M. Thomas, Drew VandeCreek, Stacey Erdman, et al.. "From Theory to Action: “Good Enough” Digital Preservation Solutions for Under-Resourced Cultural Heritage Institutions" (2014)
Available at: