A Manager's Guide to the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Documents - BSI - Neil Pitman - Alan Shipman

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BIP 0089:2008

A manager's guide to the long-term preservation of electronic documents

Status : Withdrawn   Published : April 2008


A Manager's Guide to the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Documents

Neil Pitman and Alan Shipman

In the modern era, digital documents are being created at an unprecedented rate.  At the same time, increasing regulation is placing ever more stringent requirements on the need for retention of those documents.  This paperback book has been written to provide guidance about the adoption of practices and standards organizations can use and implement so that they can be confident that their digital documents will be preserved for the long-term.

This 110-page A5 paperback book explains, in clear terms, the problems surrounding digital preservation, and explores the various solutions. It covers storage media, metadata, retention periods and standards-based archival formats. The pros and cons of each solution are described, offering  managers an insight into the issues that need to be considered when taking this decision.

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Contents of the Guide to Preserving Electronic Documents

The digital preservation problem

  • The need for document preservation
  • Defining ‘long-term’
  • Preservable digital documents
  • Aspects of preservation
  • Preservation challenges
  • Preservation approaches
  • Digital document preservation policy

Retention periods

  • Definitions
  • Principles of retention periods
  • Implementation

Standards-based archival formats

  • Characteristics of archival formats
  • Standards bodies
  • Non-digital archival format
  • Digital archival formats
  • Guidance for specific document categories

Storage media

  • Paper
  • Microfilm
  • Magnetic tape
  • Optical disk
  • On-line storage
  • Summary


  • Metadata in long-term preservation of digital documents
  • The purpose of metadata
  • Metadata formats
  • Metadata schemas
  • Custom schemas
  • Data standards
  • UK Government
  • Metadata location
  • Technical metadata
  • Other relevant standards

Archive creation and maintenance

  • Core concepts
  • OAIS functional model

Related standards and publications

  • The OAIS model
  • Records management
  • Document management
  • Legal admissibility
  • PDF/A
  • References
  • Annex A – Policy document

About the authors

Neil Pitman

With 25 years experience in the IT industry Neil Pitman has architected document management software products that are in use at thousands of commercial and government organizations. He is Technical Director at Aquaforest Limited with responsibility for document processing, archiving and search products.

Alan Shipman

Alan Shipman has over 30 years experience in information and records management, workflow and microfilm/fiche applications. He is an acknowledged industry expert in legal admissibility of information stored electronically. He represents the UK at relevant International Standards (ISO) meetings as well as chairing the BSI Committee on Document Management Applications.


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A Manager's Guide to the Long-Term Preservation of Electronic Documents

Standard NumberBIP 0089:2008
TitleA manager's guide to the long-term preservation of electronic documents
Publication Date18 April 2008
Withdrawn Date06 July 2012
DescriptorsComputers, Data processing, Legal documents, Electronic storage, Data handling, Information exchange, Data security IT and Information Management: Information and Knowledge Management
ISBN978 0 580 61351 7
File Size1.037 MB

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