NDSA 2024 Strategy


The NDSA is an international alliance of members that fosters advocacy, expertise, leadership, support, and a community of practice for the preservation of digital heritage. The NDSA works to benefit the entire digital preservation community of practitioners, service providers, and organizations on behalf of the creators, owners, and users of digital heritage content.


The NDSA operates in a world in which digital material of long term value receives appropriate, effective, and sustainable stewardship from the preservation community to protect and enhance its persistence, availability, and (re)use. The NDSA provides national leadership on digital preservation issues in the United States and participates in the global community.

Values and Principles

The NDSA’s values are described below, followed by derived principles that guide the organization.

  • STEWARDSHIP is the core value of the NDSA. This recognizes the vital role played by digital heritage materials in all aspects of modern life and the pressing need to collect, protect, and make that heritage available for future generations.

    The NDSA and its members recognize that:
    • digital preservation requires long-term, holistic, and sustainability planning;
    • stewardship methods change over time, though motivations typically remain the same;
    • there is no one single solution to the digital preservation challenge and organizations may employ a variety of strategies to achieve their goals;
    • a strong documentation and policy infrastructure helps to secure a digital preservation program during transitions;
    • exit strategies should be created to avoid entrenchment of any particular tool or system.

  • COLLABORATION, EXCHANGE, and INCLUSIVENESS are the operational values of the NDSA. The vision of the NDSA is expansive and progress towards it depends upon harnessing the complementary and coordinated actions of all appropriate organizational and individual participants, including voices and perspectives that have been historically marginalized.

    The NDSA and its members recognize that:
    • digital preservation requires a community of practitioners with a variety of distributed roles and responsibilities and diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds;
    • communities of practice foster collaboration and exchange that lead to more productive, effective, and sustainable digital preservation;
    • collaborating on digital preservation infrastructure and practices strengthens outcomes.

  • ETHICAL BEHAVIOR is the imperative value of the NDSA. NDSA members are ethical stewards who act towards each other and stakeholder communities with integrity, respect, and accountability.

    The NDSA and its members recognize that:
    • human rights are unassailable and everyone deserves respect;
    • digital preservation should be sustainable for people, the environment, and organizational budgets;
    • ethical stewardship respects the privacy and security needs of digital materials, including information security of the content and system security of the technical infrastructure;
    • adopting a professional code of ethics, such as the Society of American Archivists Code of Ethics for Archivists, is good practice.

  • TRANSPARENCY and OPENNESS are the community values of the NDSA. NDSA members promote knowledge exchange, innovation, and facilitate maintenance and accountability. Digital preservation is complex and the entire community benefits from sharing practices, strategies, and ideas.

    The NDSA and its members recognize that:
    • publicly accessible policies, practices, and procedures benefit the entire community;
    • transparency is essential for trust and is needed for fruitful digital preservation partnerships;
    • open development and sharing of software and code enhances the community.

Goals and Strategies

The NDSA invests collaborative stewardship action towards three primary goals:

  1. Convening and sustaining an engaged community to advance digital stewardship theory and practice. In the next five years, we aim to do this by:
    • Strengthening and stabilizing NDSA’s shared governance by defining additional officer roles to distribute labor more equitably, establishing a longer term for Coordinating Committee Chair, and/or performing more active outreach.
    • Investigating avenues to develop a sustainable funding model, including but not limited to restructuring membership options, hosting events, and seeking sponsorships.
    • Improving the new member on-boarding process, and provide opportunities for new members to understand how to get involved with NDSA.

  2. Identifying, communicating, and advocating for the common needs, concerns, standards, and good practices of the community. In the next five years, we aim to do this by:
    • Producing and maintaining core publications, including the Levels of Digital Preservation and longitudinal survey reports on fixity, staffing, storage, and web archiving; and expand publications in response to the needs of the community.
    • Developing a regularly occurring “community call” or town hall open to all members, featuring discussions on relevant issues and topics.
    • Leveraging the Interest Groups to identify and develop new areas for advocacy, improved practices, and shared information.
    • Expanding guidance and/or provide a framework to enable members to create new groups, such as regional affinity groups or NDSA student chapters at iSchools.

  3. Providing outreach, resources, training, and professional development opportunities to bolster the effectiveness, productivity, and continuity of the community. In the next five years, we aim to do this by:
    • Providing professional development and leadership opportunities for NDSA members through service on Working Groups and Interest Groups.
    • Identifying partnerships to offer enhanced training opportunities and events for NDSA members.
    • Increasing transparency around leadership actions and decision-making by developing a mechanism (such as a newsletter) to better communicate NDSA news, resources, announcements, and relevant contributions from members.
    • Developing new channels to publicize NDSA resources and publications to make them more discoverable for NDSA members and the broader public. (See the Digital Preservation Publications Index)
    • Investigating methods of assessing the effectiveness of NDSA groups and activities.