Review: The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation by Trevor Owens

Title:  The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation

Author: Trever Owens

Genre: Nonfiction

Format: Paperback

Pages: 200

Dates Read: September 4, 2020

5 stars
5 stars – I loved it!

“Digital preservation is not about a particular system, or a series of preservation actions. It is about preparing content and collections for the first in a great chain of hand-offs.”

In this book, Owens is establishing a baseline for institutions to follow for digital preservation. Digital preservation does not have set preservation rules like analog materials do. Digital preservation is a different kind of beast that you have to think differently about and Owens does a great job at giving you the different perspective you need. 

“The digital world is messy. It’s important that in our efforts to collect, preserve, and provide access to it we don’t tidy it up in ways that remove its significance.” 

Owens discusses the history of preservation for a wide range of institutions and different approaches that can be taken by them to deal with digital media. Dealing with digital materials seems like a daunting task but Owens shows it is all about perspective and what your institution can do. He gives examples of how the More Product, Less Process (MPLP) model can apply to digital materials. Digital materials doesn’t  have to be extremely organized to be used and that is what a lot of archivists need to remember.  

“One of the biggest threats to the sustainability of digital information now and into the future is the defunding and underfunding of our cultural and civic institutions.” 

As someone who is still new to working with digital materials, this book was a great perspective and made me question the practices going on in my institution (which is how it should be). Before reading this book I couldn’t apply MPLP to digital materials because I had no examples or knowledge of how that could work. This book is a great introduction or guide for digital preservation and I can see this information being relevant for years to come. I highly recommend this book if you are new to the profession or are looking for more perspective on digital preservation.


Goodreads / Amazon



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