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Digital Preservation at Yale University Library: Digital Preservation Services

a guide to Digital Preservation resources at Yale University Library and beyond

General Collections Software and Data

Software Preservation Activities at Yale University Library

CD-ROMs and Floppy Disks in the General Collections

The General Collections of Yale University Library includes a large amount of software and data, such as the long line of CD-ROMs and floppy disks pictured on this page. These content within these items is at a very high risk of loss, because optical and magnetic media are highly perishable storage environments. Additionally, in most cases, the content of these items is already inaccessible due to software incompatibilities between contemporary computers, and the original computing environments that were used to create this content.

One of the current projects of the Digital Preservation Unit is to create images of these items, which will be ingested for storage in managed and secure environment of the Digital Preservation system.

Many of these imaged CD-ROMs and floppy disks are available via the Yale Library Emulation Viewer.


Implementing Software Emulation as a Service (EaaS) within the Digital Preservation System

The Digital Preservation Unit is also working in collaboration with partners at other organizations on the implementation of a software emulation framework running, which could be deployed to run within the DPS itself, to provide access to these objects in the future.

The EaaS implementation will initially be used to provide access to the content on the CD-ROMs and floppy disks described above.


Digital Preservation Documents for Yale Library

Digital Preservation at Yale Library

The primary focus of the Digital Preservation unit at present is the establishment of a comprehensive infrastructure for sustainable, long-term preservation and access for digital content. “Long-term” is defined as “for as long as it is needed”, an indicates the Library’s commitment to responsible stewardship for digital materials that includes a collections management policy.


Tiered Support Across All Formats

The Digital Preservation unit provides services and support for the preservation of content in digital form, including both “digitized” and “born-digital” materials.

Responsibilities of this unit include content from a range of sources:

  • library digitization projects (digitized text, visual, and audio-visual materials)
  • vendors, donors, and a range of other external organizations (received digital collections)
  • content created digitally across a vast range of formats, including text documents, databases, audio-visual material or Computer Aided Design (CAD) content (born-digital materials)

Support tiers

We match our services to the requirements and budgets of our stakeholders. While we advocate for minimum standards for preserving content, digital preservation is fundamentally a risk management process and our stakeholders and their collections have appropriately varying appetites for risk of loss. This is demonstrated in the case of our preservation digitization stakeholders who need their preservation copies (that have replaced the analog media as the primary preservation copies) to have a minimal risk of loss, whereas their access copies, derived from those preservation copies, can be preserved using riskier, more cost-effective, approaches as they can always be recreated from the preservation copies. 


The Digital Preservation Unit provides a variety of training resources for the digital preservation system, including:

  • Pre-recorded training modules on packaging, ingesting and deletion of content within the system (available on our SharePoint site
  • Additional follow-up sessions with our staff members available by Zoom on request (contact us at to schedule)


Consultation Services

The Digital Preservation Unit also offers consultation services for other units and research areas throughout the Library, to provide education and to aid with activities related to digital preservation, including:

  • Preservation considerations and strategies for old digital content, which may include disk imaging and other methods for recovering content from old digital media
  • Assistance for units seeking to obtain or provide access to old digital content, via methods including migration to contemporary formats, software emulation to run content in native software on contemporary hardware, or obtaining and using original hardware
  • Advice for units seeking information about preferred formats and procedures, in compliance with best practices for creating digital content
  • Guidance with the development of digital preservation policies throughout the Library

Digital Preservation Virtual Consultation sessions are held every two weeks. These meetings provide an opportunity for staff to ask questions related to digital preservation in a more informal, "office hours"-style setting. More information is available on our SharePoint site. Our staff are also available to meet with staff members via Zoom for 1:1 or small group consulting. Please contact us at to request a meeting.

Storage and the DPS

For more information regarding storage policies and costs associated with the Digital Preservation System, please see the following links: