Foundational 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.


The NDSA membership invests collaborative stewardship action towards three primary objectives:

  1. Convening and sustaining an engaged community to advance digital stewardship theory and practice.
  2. Identifying, communicating, and advocating for the common needs, concerns, standards, and best practices of that community.
  3. Providing outreach, resources, training, and professional development opportunities to bolster the effectiveness, productivity, and continuity of that community.

Strategies and Activities

The NDSA’s specific strategic priorities and initiatives are articulated in the NDSA Stewardship Agenda. In general, these divide into four high-level categories:

  • Communications and publications, to promote community and raise public awareness
  • Reports and guidance, to advocate standards, encourage sustainable infrastructure, and broaden access to and use of preserved digital materials
  • Knowledge exchange, to facilitate cooperation and promote innovation
  • Sustainable Governance, to maintain a clear, transparent, and accountable governance structure for the NDSA

Values and Principles

NDSA values are described below and are followed by derived principles that guide the NDSA.

  • 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.

Code of Conduct

As the Digital Library Federation (DLF) acts as the host organization for NDSA, NDSA groups follow DLF’s Code of Conduct.

Current Organization

The work of the NDSA is organized by Interest Groups and lead by an elected Coordinating Committee. The Digital Library Federation acts as the host organization of NDSA and provides leadership and program support. NDSA questions? Send an email to DLF questions?


The National Digital Stewardship Alliance was launched in July 2010 by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress. Founding NDSA members participated in an organizing workshop that determined how the NDSA would be structured and established how it would function as a collaborative, volunteer organization.

In creating NDIIPP, Congress charged the Library of Congress with building the capacity for public and private organizations across the United States to save digital content of current and future value to the nation. The NDSA’s initial members were drawn from NDIIPP’s partnership network.

The organization’s 2016 move to the Digital Library Federation at CLIR was an opportunity to re-affirm NDSA’s values, partner with a new host that shares them, and begin expanding activities and connections in new spheres.