Preservation Health Check



The desired impact is to help libraries and archives in materializing their digital preservation duties and responsibilities. This pilot will:

  • demonstrate the value of producing and maintaining preservation metadata,
  • help institutions to gain better insight in the need for preservation metadata,
  • help institutions to make informed choices about which metadata are useful to produce and which are less useful,
  • demonstrate the use of tools that can identify and validate file formats and extract technical metadata, and
  • testify to the importance of using the latest versions of such tools and of keeping registries up to date, as sources of information about file formats. 

These outcomes will provide useful feed-back to the further development of standards, best practices and tools and repository certification efforts.

The pilot will deliver individual private Preservation Health Check reports to the pilot sites and an overall public report with recommendations on:

  • the value and usefulness of preservation metadata;
  • the necessary measures and steps to improve the quality of preservation metadata;
  • the necessary measures to improve the quality of tools in use;
  • the need for regular health checks, based on preservation metadata; and
  • the basic parameters/pre-conditions for setting-up a preservation health check service.

Interim results will be published on the OCLC Research and OPF web pages.


Progress and Outputs





OCLC Research and the Open Planets Foundation (OPF) are conducting a Preservation Health Check pilot to analyze the quality of preservation metadata created and in use by operational repository and deposit systems and evaluate the potential of such metadata for assessing digital preservation risks.

OPF, representing the digital preservation community needs, will contribute pilot sites and datasets, provide feed-back to interim-research findings and organize workshops/hackathons to disseminate and advance the take-up of research findings.

OCLC Research, with expertise in preservation metadata and skills in risk assessment, will design the research methodology, carry out the research activities, provide the technical infrastructure, develop data analysis tools and risk assessment methods and contribute to the dissemination of results.

Other parties will be involved during the pilot, in particular maintainers of preservation metadata schemas (LoC), format registration tools (UK National Archive) and risk assessment tools (DCC, NARA, NESTOR).


An important function of preservation metadata is to understand what exactly is in the repository and to provide information that enables periodic check-ups and screenings for risks to long-term access. Several schemas (PREMIS, MIXED, etc.), best practices, tools and registries (PRONOM, JHOVE, DROID, UDFR, etc.) for preservation metadata have been developed in the past 15 years and are in use by most repositories. Preservation risk assessment toolkits and checklists (DRAMBORA, TRAC, etc.) and standards (Metrics for digital repository audit and certification, CCSDS 2009, etc.) have been devised to help repositories assess the preservation risks they run. However, there is little evidence that such risk assessment has become a part of the preservation management process of repositories, nor is there evidence that assessment results are fed back into the development of standards, best practices and tools.

OPF, which represents major libraries and archives with a long-term access mandate, has identified a shared need for supporting repositories in carrying out their preservation management tasks. One of these tasks is to perform regular preservation risk assessment (health check), a task that could be offered as a service, independently from specific repository systems in use.

Team Members


Most recent updates: Page content: 2013-10-11