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Digital information is a broad concept, not only in terms of collections, but also when it comes to materials and sources. Making and keeping digital information sustainably accessible involves major challenges, such as the ongoing changes to media and technology, the wide variety of software formats, file formats and information carriers, the exponential growth of digital information, and identifying which information should be stored. This preservation policy underscores the accountability for the definition of preservation and Het Nieuwe Instituut’s approach.

Het Nieuwe Instituut’s activities are intended both to increase public appreciation of the cultural and social significance of architecture, design and digital culture, and to strengthen the interaction between these disciplines. The mission, task and responsibilities of Het Nieuwe Instituut automatically result in a preservation obligation. This is the only way Het Nieuwe Instituut will be able to provide permanent access to its user groups.

The scope of digital preservation extends over the entire life cycle of digital objects, including all processes involved in the creation, acquisition, selection, processing, storage, management and access to that object. Such a spectrum requires a carefully designed environment in which the various processes can take place in a controlled and coherent manner. Standardising, formalising and documenting digital objects, metadata and the workflows in which they are processed, stored, and made accessible largely meet the requirements of such an environment. But these are not the only things that need to be arranged. In 2015, TNO carried out a study into the degree of maturity, the possibilities and the necessary measures Het Nieuwe Instituut needs to meet the challenges associated with the acquisition, processing and sustainable management of born-digital archives. The findings and recommendations from this research can be considered as the starting point for Het Nieuwe Instituut’s activities in the field of maintaining sustainable access to digital collections. 

Main policy outlines

Het Nieuwe Instituut’s preservation policy ensures the strategic and tactical integration of Het Nieuwe Instituut’s preservation activities. Het Nieuwe Instituut’s preservation policy ensures the strategic and tactical integration of Het Nieuwe Instituut’s preservation activities. However, a preservation policy is not static; it must have a long-term perspective and be able to respond to changes within and outside the organisation. The preservation policy of Het Nieuwe Instituut is a living document that describes the main policy outlines relating to digital preservation, and forms a link with further elaborations such as a file format policy, access policy, selection policy, ICT policy, etc.

Het Nieuwe Instituut’s preservation policy sets out how Het Nieuwe Instituut will ensure that the digital information it manages remains authentic, secure and usable. The policy also contains conditions for producers of digital information that help to make digital information more efficient and effective over time, also so that (future) users can continue to access this information. In addition, this policy describes the division of responsibilities within the organisation.