To enable the enduring preservation of and access to documentary cultural heritage, including in digital form, in line with the UNESCO 2015 Recommendation, steps must be taken to preserve digitised and born-digital materials. The volume of digital information is almost incalculable, and continues to grow, which presents a significant challenge.

The UNESCO/PERSIST Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Heritage for Long-Term Preservation were developed to assist practitioners make informed decisions about digital resources to be kept for long term access.

The Second Edition

The PERSIST Content Task Force, under the Preservation Subcommittee of UNESCO Memory of the World, is now excited to debut the second edition of these Guidelines.  This new edition updates and expands on the first edition of the Guidelines, launched in 2016.

This update was made possible through the work of an expert writing group, including representatives from UNESCO, IFLA, the International Council on Archives (ICA), and the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

The Guidelines are currently available in English, Spanish, and Arabic, with thanks to UNESCO for supporting translations.

What’s new?

Given the complexity of digital preservation, this new edition has been expanded to two parts:

  1. “The Impact of Digital Preservation on Selection Decisions” introduces readers to the unique challenges of digital preservation, the considerations they must make when setting up a selection policy, and tools they can use to guide these decisions.
  2. “A Deeper Look at Collecting in the Digital Environment“ takes an even deeper look at digital preservation, exploring institution-specific considerations for practitioners in museums, archives, and libraries, and offering an extended chapter on the impact of the legal environment on selection decisions.

Also new to this edition are several appendices, offering an even deeper dive into specific forms of digital material.

The PERSIST Content Task Force acknowledges the vast array of digital material, and the many different contexts in which selection decisions are made. Therefore, the Guidelines are not presented as a “one-size-fits-all” solution, but rather a starting point to communicate key concepts and tools that practitioners might consider in their own context.

Find out more about the UNESCO PERSIST project.

Explore the Guidelines:

The UNESCO/PERSIST Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Heritage for Long-Term Preservation - 2nd Edition

The 2nd Edition of the UNESCO/PERSIST Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Heritage for Long-Term Preservation seeks to continue helping practitioners and decision-makers in memory institutions made informed choices regarding what digital resources to preserve for long-term access. The PERSIST Co...

Directrices UNESCO/PERSIST sobre selección del patrimonio digital para su conservación a largo plazo - 2nd edición

Spanish translation - the UNESCO/PERSIST Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Heritage for Long-Term Preservation - 2nd Edition. Translation made possible through the generous support of UNESCO