Launch of the PERSIST digital heritage selection guidelines

The UNESCO PERSIST Project on digital sustainability has launched guidelines for the selection of digital heritage for long-term preservation. The aim of the guidelines is to provide an overarching starting point for libraries, archives, museums and other heritage institutions when drafting their own policies on the selection of digital heritage.

(Photo: CC/ | DRs Kulturarvsprojekt)

The guidelines target institutions, professionals and administrators on every level and in every region of the world in order to review existing material for selection, highlight important issues, and offer guidance when drafting institutional policies. They were written by a team of seven authors from the libraries, archives, and the museums community.

PERSIST is an initiative of UNESCO, the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and other partners, for enhancing the sustainability of digital heritage. In its current phase, the project is coordinated by the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO.
The guidelines are the first tangible outcome of PERSIST and will officially be presented at the PERSIST meeting in Abu Dhabi on March 15.

The project team encourages everyone to use the guidelines as a starting point for institutional policies. If you use them, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. That way they can be improved upon and be made truly usable for all communities. Feedback may be sent to: cultural.heritage [at]

Download the Guidelines.

Digital information is difficult to preserve over longer periods of time. Carriers like hard disks have a short life span, and even if one manages to keep the bits and bytes, the risk that current hard- and software is unable to process the old data is very real. Archives, museums and libraries are acutely aware of these problems, yet they cannot find solutions on their own. The UNESCO PERSIST Project stimulates the debate between these institutions, government and the ICT-industry in order to promote digital sustainability. In its first phase PERSIST was coordinated by the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO.

More articles