This CoreTrustSeal Board-approved Position Paper is a revised version of a discussion paper shared with the community for comment in 2023. It is published with a view to providing input into future versions of the Requirements. In the future, integrated curation and preservation levels that have been agreed by the community would provide a valuable reference point for communicating the degree of care a digital object receives and which actors take responsibility for that care.

CoreTrustSeal Standards and Certification Board. (2024). Curation & Preservation Levels: CoreTrustSeal Position Paper. Zenodo.

The CoreTrustSeal Board shared version 2 of this discussion paper for community comment as we progressed towards reaching consensus on the topic of curation and preservation levels.

Applying the appropriate levels of curation and preservation to digital objects maximises the return on investment in data assets over time. Successful curation and long-term preservation services depend on a repository having the rights and taking the responsibility to provide an effective organisational infrastructure, digital object management and technical/security environment.

Clearly communicating the levels of curation a repository offers is an essential part of seeking certification against the CoreTrustSeal Requirements 2023-2025. To be in scope for CoreTrustSeal applicants must take responsibility for active long-term digital preservation for a defined (‘designated’) community of users. As the issues of curation, preservation and certification are receiving more attention from a wider range of actors, the need for clearer specification of preservation levels has become clear. The CoreTrustSeal Board sees this as an important issue for the data management community, for defining which applicants are in-scope for certification, and as a step toward the improved definition of all data and metadata services, including those that do not offer active preservation.

Version 1.0 of this discussion paper was published during the 2022 revision of the CoreTrustSeal Requirements. Community feedback was received via direct comments on the public version of the document, via social media and email, as well as in the form of responses from the UK Data Service, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and the EOSC Association’s Long-Term Digital Preservation Task Force. Appendix A summarizes the comments received. Version (2.0) addressed the feedback and was made available for further community discussion and comment prior to the publication of the position paper.

We invite your comments on the paper – these can be shared with us through our Contact page or on Twitter.