May 26, 2022

New Journal Article: The Perceived Value of Acquiring Data Seals of Approval

The following article was recently published by the International Journal Of Digital Curation (IJDC)


The Perceived Value of Acquiring Data Seals of Approval


Devan Ray Donaldson
Indiana University

Ingrid Dillo
Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)

Robert Downs
Columbia University

Sarah Ramdeen
University of North Carolina


International Journal Of Digital Curation (IJDC)
Vol. 12, No. 1 (2017)
DOI: 10.2218/ijdc.v12i1.481


The Data Seal of Approval (DSA) is one of the most widely used standards for Trusted Digital Repositories to date. Those who developed this standard have articulated seven main benefits of acquiring DSAs: 1) stakeholder confidence, 2) improvements in communication, 3) improvement in processes, 4) transparency, 5) differentiation from others, 6) awareness raising about digital preservation, and 7) less labor- and time-intensive. Little research has focused on if and how those who have acquired DSAs actually perceive these benefits. Consequently, this study examines the benefits of acquiring DSAs from the point of view of those who have them. In a series of 15 semi-structured interviews with representatives from 16 different organizations, participants described the benefits of having DSAs in their own words. Our findings suggest that participants experience all of the seven benefits that those who developed the standard promised. Additionally, our findings reflect the greater importance of some of those benefits compared to others. For example, participants mentioned the benefits of stakeholder confidence, transparency, improvement in processes and awareness raising about digital preservation more frequently than they discussed less labor- and time-intensive (e.g. it being less labor- and time-intensive to acquire DSAs than becoming certified by other standards), improvements in communication, and differentiation from others. Participants also mentioned two additional benefits of acquiring DSAs that are not explicitly listed on the DSA website that were very important to them: 1) the impact of acquiring the DSA on documentation of their workflows, and 2) assurance that they were following best practice. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.

Direct to Full Text Article
22 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.