PURR Digital Preservation Policy

Purdue University Research Repository (PURR)
Digital Preservation Policy


The Purdue University Research Repository (PURR) serves as Purdue's institutional data repository through providing resources and services to promote the management, dissemination and preservation of research data generated by researchers affiliated with Purdue or in association with Purdue researchers. The Purdue University Libraries is responsible for preserving content in PURR. The Libraries is committed to preserving and maintaining all PURR content for a period of ten years after it is published in PURR. Long-term preservation of PURR content beyond the ten year retention period is subject to the Libraries' selection criteria for long-term retention, pending budget approval for staffing and related resources needed to accomplish this goal.

The following PURR Digital Preservation Policy describes how Purdue University will support sustainable access to digital data sets and related content deposited into PURR. Detailed strategies for preservation activities will be developed in conjunction with this policy. This policy is subject to change as capabilities, standards, best practices and available technologies impact the University’s ability to preserve this content. The intended audience for this policy includes faculty, administrators, and students of Purdue University, researchers external to Purdue who are collaborating with Purdue personnel and who want to make use of PURR's services, funders, and users.

The objectives of PURR are:

  • to collect, publish and preserve the digital data sets and associated documentation generated by researchers affiliated with Purdue or associated with Purdue's research projects.
  • to enable researchers at Purdue to satisfy the requirements of funding agencies in managing, sharing and preserving research data.
  • to provide the means for researchers, policy makers, and others to discover and access data sets generated through research done at or in conjunction with Purdue for the long term.
  • to provide a sustainable preservation environment where deposited research data are available to support the historical record of research, and accessible for use for contemporary scholarship.


The PURR mandate for digital preservation is drawn from the following areas of responsibility:

Preservation of Scholarship: As an institution of higher education, Purdue University supports scholarship, teaching, and learning. PURR serves as the institution’s repository for data sets produced by University faculty and researchers as part of their scholarly endeavors. A key component of the Purdue University Libraries mission is the preservation of scholarly information resources. The Libraries is responsible for identifying and preserving scholarly resources, increasingly in digital format, for as long as they are needed to support the University’s research, teaching, and learning needs.

Organizational Commitment: The PURR Working Group reports to the PURR Steering Committee (Dean of Libraries, Vice President for Research, and Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Purdue), responsible for establishing policies for the preservation of data sets submitted to the PURR repository. The Purdue University Libraries commitment to leadership in data-related scholarship and initiatives is explicitly cited in Libraries’ Strategic Plan for 2011-2016 (Scholarly Communication Goal, Objective 3), as is its commitment to international data management initiatives (Global Challenges Goal, Objective 1).


This section summarizes the resource groups (e.g., units, departments, or external parties) for which the institution takes responsibility, and prioritizes these according to institutional importance.

The Digital Preservation Program within Libraries is responsible for identifying, securing, and providing the means to preserve and ensure ongoing access to selected digital assets. Libraries is committed to preserving and maintaining all PURR content for a period of ten years after it is published in PURR. Not all digital content deposited within PURR will be selected for preservation beyond the ten-year retention period. Long-term preservation of PURR content (beyond the ten year retention period) is subject to Libraries' selection criteria and archival appraisal of the content for long-term retention, and depends upon a sufficient budget necessary to support staff and related resources to meet this goal.

Purdue commits to these classes of objects with associated preservation priorities and levels of commitment:

Priority 1: Data Sets associated with Publications. Rigorous effort will be made to ensure preservation of data sets associated with journal publications or other scholarly publications in perpetuity, or for as long as the data sets meet the Purdue Libraries collection development policies and practices, or is superseded in the future by an acceptable data repository.

Priority 2a: Stand-Alone Data Publications. Every reasonable step will be taken to preserve stand-alone data publications in accordance with best practices and collection development policies.

Priority 2b: Data Sets with High Research/Teaching Value. Every reasonable step will be taken to preserve data sets that are identified by subject specialist librarians or archivists as having high value for meeting the research and teaching needs of Purdue University or within the broader research community.

Priority 3: Other Data Files and Materials. No preservation steps will be taken for ephemeral materials deemed to be of little or no long-term value to the comprehensiveness of the collection. Working files of particular significance to Purdue’s teaching and research needs, or within the greater research community, may be preserved on a select basis as appropriate.

Challenges and Incentives

As with any digital preservation program, PURR faces multiple challenges and risks.


  • Technology - Identifying and keeping pace with developments and changes in technology.
  • Costs - These include accounting for and addressing staffing, equipment, software, infrastructure, and miscellaneous other costs.
  • Developing and sustaining a network of relationships - A central component to the success of PURR will be developing and maintaining a framework of communication that can adequately identify and address changing needs, practices, and values of key constituencies within PURR developers, administrators and users.
  • Maintaining a focus on preservation - preservation planning or work can sometimes be seen as something that can be put off, or neglected in favor of immediate access. Preservation is an essential component of PURR services as it enables long-term access, and as such it requires attention throughout the data management process.
  • Accommodating a wide variety of data sets - data will come in a variety of types, formats, sizes, and complexities.


  • Many funding agencies are requiring data management plans that detail how data will be administered, made accessible to others, and preserved. PURR services can serve as an advantage to Purdue researchers in seeking funding as a means of demonstrating an ability to comply with these requirements.
  • PURR gives Purdue an opportunity to demonstrate the research taking place and its impact.
  • PURR provides researchers the means to receive attribution for disseminating their data by assigning each data set a persistent identifier (a DOI) which can be used by the researcher or others to cite the data set. Purdue Libraries is one of three DataCite members for the United States.


The PURR digital preservation program will adhere to the following principles:

  • Comply with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model standard and other digital preservation standards and practices as they evolve.
  • Seek to conform to certification requirements for ISO Standard 16363 for Trusted Digital Repositories.
  • Adhere to prevailing community standards for preserving access to digital content of long-term value so that it remains readable, meaningful, and understandable.
  • Consider the preservation implications of any systems designed or implemented to manage digital content.
  • Commit to an interoperable, reliable, and scalable digital archive with appropriate storage management for content.
  • Document PURR policies, procedures, and practices clearly and consistently.
  • Maintain hardware, software, and storage media containing archival content in keeping with prevailing best practices, including adherence to environmental standards, quality control specifications, and security requirements.
  • Establish adequate and secure backup and disaster recovery safeguards.
  • Establish procedures to meet archival requirements pertaining to provenance, chain of custody, authenticity, and integrity of content.
  • Capture and maintain adequate metadata to document digital content and what is required to provide access to the content.
  • Define a sustainability plan that ensures the cost-effective, transparent, and auditable management of the digital archive over time.
  • Seek to monitor threats to the accessibility of digital content.
  • Comply with intellectual property, copyright, and ownership rights for preservation of and access to all content.
  • Attempt to allocate adequate and appropriate resources and infrastructure for sustained digital preservation, acknowledging the need to tailor collecting programs according to the ability to preserve content and the availability of resources for preservation activities.

Roles and Responsibilities

Librarians and archivists have always been responsible for preserving and providing access to the scholarly record. This role continues as scholarly resources evolve from physical to digital formats. Although the Purdue University Libraries has primary responsibility for digital preservation of scholarly resources on behalf of the University, digital preservation is a shared responsibility with all stakeholders. The PURR Steering Committee, comprised of the Dean of Libraries, the Vice President for Research, and the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, is responsible for evaluating and approving policies and procedures for the preservation of content submitted to PURR. Archivists and librarian subject experts have responsibility for selecting content for long-term preservation. Faculty, staff, and researchers who create and disseminate content identified for long-term preservation have a responsibility to actively contribute to fulfilling this policy by adhering to PURR’s preservation recommendations for file formats, metadata, and related activities.


Purdue University Libraries, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), and the Purdue University Office of the Vice President for Research are committed to collaborating with one another in the development of PURR as a Trusted Digital Repository. The PURR initiative is also committed to collaborating with other universities, libraries, institutions, and organizations to further technological and operational research to better serve the collective desire to preserve digital content.

Selection and Acquisition Criteria

This section outlines the way decisions are made regarding what content will be preserved.

Selection principles and guidelines exist for content that enhances the scope of Purdue Libraries' collections. These principles and guidelines are based upon standard criteria that are regularly reviewed and updated, and extend from application to print resources to digital resources.

Content selected for ongoing preservation will primarily support teaching and scholarship at Purdue University. These materials will be selected primarily on the basis of content and significance for teaching and scholarship, as well as the development and maintenance of collections of national and international strength. Other criteria, including form and functionality, may also be taken into account in selection and de-selection decisions as they impact the ongoing utility of the content. Additionally, data preserved in other trustworthy repositories may be deselected within PURR.

Access and Use Criteria

The Purdue University Libraries is committed to open access, in agreement with the core philosophy of the Berlin Declaration for open access. The designated community for PURR includes faculty, researchers, and graduate students at Purdue University or working in collaboration with individuals affiliated with Purdue University; faculty, students, and researchers affiliated with other institutions; independent scholars; and the public. Although content in PURR is primarily intended to be made publicly available for the broadest possible dissemination of Purdue University research, some content will be restricted as necessary in accordance with state and federal laws, to prevent unauthorized access to content of a sensitive or confidential nature, and in accordance with submission agreements as stipulated by the donor of the content, for a limited period of time. Access and use of PURR content will be in compliance with laws and Purdue University policies relating to intellectual property, copyright, and ownership rights.


Definitions of terms used in this digital preservation policy are based on the glossary created by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), part of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. 


This policy has been informed by the following sources:

Columbia University Libraries. Policy for Preservation of Digital Resources. July 2000 (rev. 2006). http://library.columbia.edu/services/preservation/dlpolicy.html

Cornell University Library Digital Preservation Policy Framework. December 2004. http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/11230/1/cul-dp-framework.pdf

ICPSR Digital Preservation Policy Framework. Developed by Nancy Y. McGovern. Revised June 20, 2007. https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/content/datamanagement/preservation/policies/dpp-framework.html

InterPARES Project: International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems. http://www.interpares.org/

MetaArchive Cooperative. Digital Preservation Policy Planning Workshop. Preservation Policy Template. June 22, 2011.

National Library of Australia, Digital Preservation Policy, 3rd Edition (2008). http://www.nla.gov.au/policy-and-planning/digital-preservation-policy

PREMIS: Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies. http://www.loc.gov/standards/premis/

University of Illinois. IDEALS Digital Preservation Policy. November 2009. https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/2383/IDEALS_PreservationPolicy_Nov2009.pdf

Yale University Library. Digital Preservation Policy. http://www.library.yale.edu/iac/DPC/final1.html


This policy was approved and endorsed by the Purdue University Libraries Planning and Operations Council on February 23, 2012. It was subsequently revised with minor changes on March 22, 2012 based on comments received from the Dean of Libraries and approved by the PURR Steering Committee (Richard Buckius - Vice President for Research, Gerry McCartney - Chief Information Officer, and James L. Mullins - Dean of Libraries) on April 4, 2012.

The Purdue University Research Repository (PURR) is a university core research facility provided by the Purdue University Libraries, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, and Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP).