May 16, 2022

Digital Preservation: “NYU Division of Libraries Issues First-ever Guidelines For Publishing Preservable, Complex Digital Scholarship”

From New York University (NYU Libraries):

New York University Division of Libraries has developed and issued a set of digital-publication guidelines, the first of their kind, to make it easier for scholars, authors, and publishers to create complex digital publications that are preservable despite their complexity. The outcome of a project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the guidelines are now openly available to publishers, authors, editors, digital production staff, software developers, and those who design and maintain publishing platforms.

“Scholars are experimenting with increasingly diverse digital technologies to express their research,” said David Millman, Associate Dean for Technology and Chief Information Officer of the NYU Libraries. “These present formidable challenges to publishers striving to ensure the works’ long-term preservability.”

In the NYU-led project, a group of university presses, digital preservation institutions, and libraries collaborated to study examples of these multi-featured, dynamic forms of scholarship. The team included NYU Press, Michigan Publishing, the University of Minnesota Press, University of British Columbia Press, and Stanford University Press; the preservation service organizations CLOCKSS and Portico; and the libraries of the University of Michigan and NYU.

The partners examined a variety of enhanced digital publications and identified which features can be preserved at scale using currently available tools. Their findings, combined with the knowledge and research of experts in preservation, publishing, and copyright, resulted in a set of guidelines and best practices for creating digital publications more likely to be preservable. The authors are project team members Jonathan Greenberg, Digital Scholarship Publishing Specialist, Deb Verhoff, Digital Collections Manager, both of NYU’s Digital Library Technology Services, and Karen Hanson, Senior Research Developer at Portico, ITHAKA.

In a follow-on project now underway, NYU and its partners are embedding preservation experts into a variety of publisher workflows to implement and “road-test” the efficacy of the guidelines. As they iterate, test, and refine them, the project team welcomes feedback on the guidelines from the field.


Direct to Guidelines (Web Version)

Direct to Guidelines (Print Version)

Direct to Report on Enhancing Services to Preserve New Forms of Scholarship

UPDATE (Jan. 31, 2022): History as it Happens: Rescuing the Historical Record in a Digital World (via NYU News)

NYU News spoke to four librarians about how they’re collaborating with publishers, institutions, preservationists, and newsrooms to ensure that digital scholarship and data journalism is reliably archived for scholars and researchers to access in the future.

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.