Published: July 19, 2022

The University Libraries joins dozens of peer institutions as members of the Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust)

The APTrust is a digital preservation consortium managed and operated by the University of Virginia that provides digital storage as well as collaboratively-developed services for managing content. 

As Michael Dulock, associate professor in charge of digital asset management and production services explains, there are several factors that make APTrust a good service for the University Libraries to utilize. 

“This membership model offers the University Libraries a community in which we can collaborate with peers to learn, contribute and exchange ideas around common issues in the digital preservation space,” Dulock said. 

The CU Boulder Libraries have been digitizing content for well over a decade, says Digital Archivist Walker Sampson, who has been with the Libraries for most of that time. He says the Libraries have easily over 200 terabytes of content that warrants inclusion in a preservation storage system. Working with APTrust, Sampson says, will help the Libraries deemphasize micro-level content processing and look at the bigger picture as a whole. 

“Let’s say the goal of preservation is to be able to get a piece of content back 100 years from now and use it,” Sampson said. “We want to put it in a certain format that’s non-proprietary and isn’t owned by anybody and has open information because who knows what computer systems will look like in the future.” 

“Our partnership with the APTrust is indicative of our investment in community-supported, sustainable digital preservation,” Jamie Wittenberg, assistant dean for research and innovation strategies said. “One of the most essential functions of a research library is to ensure continued access to materials and this new digital preservation strategy will protect our unique collections and Colorado’s diverse cultural legacy for years to come.”

As more digitized and born-digital content is added to the APTrust, digital archivists will be able to go back to add comprehensive metadata to collection items. For now, the goal is to get as many parts of CU Boulder’s collections uploaded to the servers as possible. 

“As a digital archivist, you kind of wake up in a cold sweat when you think about things not being in a preservation system because they don’t have the redundancy and robustness that they need," said Sampson. "So that has to get squared away first before we go on to the next levels."