What’s Wrong with Digital Stewardship: Evaluating the Organization of Digital Preservation Programs from Practitioners’ Perspectives



The National Digital Stewardship Alliance surveyed practitioners in 2012 and again in 2017 to gauge, among other things, how satisfied they were with their organizations’ digital preservation function. This study seeks to understand what causes the high and rising levels of dissatisfaction that practitioners reported. We interviewed 21 digital stewards and asked them to describe the organizational context in which they work; to reflect on what aspects of their organizations’ approach to digital preservation are working well and which are not; and to evaluate necessary areas of improvement. We identified experiences that were common among participants using a qualitative research methodology based on phenomenology. These conversations revealed that practitioners largely consider digital stewardship values and goals to be misunderstood at an organizational level, and demonstrated that the absence of a long-term vision for digital stewardship disempowers practitioners.


Attribute NameValues
  • Peggy Griesinger

  • Karl-Rainer Blumenthal

  • Julia Kim

  • Shira Peltzman

  • Vicky Steeves

Journal or Work Title
  • Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies

  • 7

Number of Pages
  • 23

  • 2380-8845

Publication Date
  • 2020-08

  • digital preservation

  • burnout

  • organizational culture

  • Yale University Library

Date Created
  • 2020-09-25

Bibliographic Citation
  • English

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