This guideline focuses on the preservation of your digital archive and/or collection. Just as paper and other materials in your physical archive and/or collection require certain preservation conditions, so the digital archive and/or collection requires special attention too. 


There is a chance that files created years ago can no longer be opened, look different or react differently.

This applies to files on your computer as well as files that you have saved on CD-ROMs, USB sticks or external hard drives. Just because you keep your carriers (in good condition) does not mean that the stored files are still legible. All digital carriers are unreliable. Not only can your data disappear due to the material decline of the carrier, but the carriers and the accompanying hard- and software can also become redundant with the evolution of technology. As an example, you can no longer use a floppy disk with a present-day computer.

In order to be able to read and play your files and objects in the long term, it is important to check them regularly to see that they are not lost or affected and to see whether all your carriers still work. Proper storage and making back-ups is also essential.


  • Save your files from the outset in a durable format.
  • Make regular backups, either manually or automatically.
  • Always keep a list of the carriers you use, the locations of your saved files and software and services that you have used.


You can read about durable file formats and how best to store your digital archive in the tools Bewaring van je digitaal archief (only in Dutch) and Bestandsformaten en codecs (only in Dutch).

Making a reliable back-up doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Read more about it in the following: Hoe maak je een back-up? (only in Dutch)


  • Your digital archive and/or collection will be in good condition. This means that your archives and collections can be consulted in the short and long term, their integrity will be preserved and they will continue to be legible and usable.
  • Error-free back-ups are made at regular intervals.
  • Standardised, open, widespread and broadly supported file formats are used wherever possible.
  • You have a list of all digital carriers and locations at which you keep your digital archive.