Factors that influence digital preservation sustainability in academic libraries in South Africa

Tlou Maggie Masenya, Patrick Ngulube


This study investigated the factors that can inform the implementation of sustainable digital preservation in academic libraries, with a view to developing a conceptual preservation model applicable to these institutions. The survey research design was used, underpinned by a quantitative research method and guided by a conceptual framework. Online survey questionnaires were emailed to all twenty-seven academic libraries in South Africa. The findings show that academic libraries in South Africa are significantly affected by the changes in the digital environment. Most of these institutions are faced with many challenges as they attempt to preserve their digital content, including a lack of institutional commitment and involvement; absence of established digital preservation standards, policies and procedures; inadequate resources; lack of skills and training; lack of funding; limited collaboration efforts and partnerships; and technological obsolescence. This study recommends that these institutions can address many of their digital preservation challenges if they leverage these factors. The study proposes a conceptual model for preservation of digital resources in academic libraries, mapped with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model.


Digitization, Digital preservation, Digital resources, Academic library, Preservation sustainability

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7553/86-1-1860


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