In this policy, Northern Illinois University Libraries (the Library) commits itself to the long-term preservation of and access to varied and unique digital assets, including stewardship of the University's digital record.

Digital preservation has been defined by the American Library Association (ALA) as "policies, strategies, and actions to ensure access to reformatted and born digital content regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change."1 This implies more than simply making an object available in a digital format and differs from analog preservation in several key ways. Analog materials like books can survive for many years in a temperature-controlled environment without intervention, while digital materials that are left alone for relatively short periods of time are subject to degradation and obsolescence of storage media, formats, and compatible hardware. This situation requires active management and ongoing planning to ensure long-term preservation and access to an institution's digital assets.

The Library’s digital preservation program contributes to the University’s mission to be a leading student-centered, research-focused public university in the Midwest by ensuring long-term access to the institution's digital assets. The Library requires a formal digital preservation policy to carry out its mission to "partner with our users in the research, discovery, and creation of knowledge" by ensuring the integrity of the research and knowledge created for years to come.