Digital Asset Management Preservation 101

Your Digital Asset Management (DAM) system isn’t enough for Digital Preservation - read more below to understand the key benefits of combining your DAM with the power of Digital Preservation.

Digital Asset Management systems (DAMs) are an integral part of the information lifecycle. But DAMs are concentrated on short-term asset use — often by marketing teams that need ways to efficiently manage and distribute campaign asset and creative marketing materials like images, video, word documents, PDFs, graphics, design files and more. These digital assets are costly to produce, but are also susceptible to loss, corruption and format obsolescence over the long-term. 

The terms Digital Asset Management and Digital Preservation are often seen as two sides of the same coin. They each perform very clear-cut roles, but as disciplines and technologies they are quite different. 

DAMs were never designed to preserve the accessibility and authenticity of brand heritage and organizational history over decades. That’s where Digital Preservation comes in. When used in tandem, they can lead to greater long-term brand value and asset reuse.

Digital preservation consists of policies, activities, technology and strategies to make sure born-digital and digitized assets can be read and used by future generations (whether or not we can read a .jpg or .pdf in 25 years or not.)

The shift to a more digital-first way of working is here, and the topic of digital fragility is sitting under the radar of many organizations. It’s a risk that needs to be understood, called out and addressed in some capacity as it pertains to content management and keeping assets long-term.

Why your digital content needs preservation

Digital fragility is not something we can expect our future workforce to worry about. Link rot, obsolete file formats and storage, vendor abandonment, discontinued cloud services, and storage degradation leave enterprises scrambling to save time and recreate digital assets. More and more, firms are looking to preserve their corporate memory and protect long-term digital information to ensure they are available when needed and repurposed for decades to come.

  • Software and other technologies can become obsolete
  • Hardware can be accidentally damaged
  • Technology changes fast and brings new challenges for the future
  • Most storage formats won’t be readable in 10 years
  • Files might be migrated multiple times
Learn more about digital fragility

Why is Digital Preservation important for your DAM program?

Relying solely on a DAM system will not help to preserve the valuable digital content stored within the system. Whether you have particular file formats from earlier digital eras, or are about to embark on a project to digitize tangible assets, it’s time to think about a sustainable plan for Digital Preservation.

10 reasons why a dedicated Preservation system is key to incorporating in your DAM Program


Authenticity Assurance: a full audit trail of the object from start to finish, able to be exported and shared with ease.


Bit-level Preservation & storage management, and reporting that also ensures future readability.


Automatic file format identification, characterization and analysis.


Preservation planning & obsolescence monitoring as new formats become obsolete or on the path to obsolescence.


A content agnostic system — meaning all types of digital content can be ingested and preserved. Including the resurrection of obsolete files.


Scalable preservation actions driven by automation to help you keep pace with today’s information environments.


Configurable and customizable ingest workflows to capture preservation where your information lives and control applied preservation actions.


Multiple access/​discovery options and APIs to extend and integrate preservation into your content ecosystem.


Ensure security and compliance with comprehensive data tracking and auditing.


Flexible storage means content can be tagged at any level for storage on a specific set of infrastructure (low value vs high value content)

What are the benefits of combining Digital Preservation with your DAM program?

Preserving brand value and corporate heritage means ensuring digital assets are easy to access and reusable over the long-term. This has become an essential part of modern brand asset management. It enables CMOs and marketing teams to maximize asset ROI, drive brand and product innovation, maintain brand continuity and protect IPR (Intellectual Property Rights).

Overcoming these challenges means ensuring information is digitally preserved, securely stored, immediately accessible, trustworthy, and automatically transformed into formats that can be read and used by future, more modern applications for the long-term.

As we can see in the accompanying chart, the benefits are numerous. Incorporating Active Digital Preservation into your Digital Asset Management (DAM) program can enable better brand storytelling, inspire product innovation, engage employees in the organization’s history and culture, protect trademarks and brand authenticity, provide corporate governance, and help you overcome the challenges of compliance. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits in the chart below. 

Benefits of combining Digital Preservation with your DAM

DAM Preservation 101 - the benefits of combining digital preservation with your DAM

What are some typical digital assets that need long-term preservation?






Brand assets



There are many reasons why an organization would use Digital Preservation — from extending the life of their digital assets, to being able to prove authenticity, ensuring access and more. But generally, digitized and born-digital assets that require long-term preservation fit into four categories: Governance, Heritage, Brand Assets, and Innovation.

How to build your strategy for preserving long-term digital assets

The Importance of Metadata: Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Strategies

The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) defines metadata as, Data describing stored data: that is, data describing the structure, data elements, interrelationships, and other characteristics of electronic records.“

Metadata is extremely useful for many aspects of information management, including enabling search to find and retrieve data, providing users with supporting information and a key ingredient in an Active Digital Preservation strategy.

Many Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems offer metadata options — which is a great start. However, these basic metadata elements often fall short for long-term preservation of your vital brand.

In today’s world of fake news, sales and engagement can plummet if there’s any doubt surrounding a brand. But, technology and best practices can foster the traceability of assets – who created them, what they mean, what they’re intended for – and ensure they’re not misused downstream. All powered through metadata and Active Digital Preservation.

Metadata can also be used to ensure the long-term integrity and authenticity of assets (and the metadata itself) using checksums, audits trails, and controlled access.

This underpins authenticity by preserving original meaning and context using robust archival metadata and technology to demonstrate provenance.

In summary, basic DAM metadata is valuable in helping with short-term tasks like categorization, organizing, and search. However, you enable even more opportunities in the long-term by using a more comprehensive metadata schema such as MODs or Dublin Core- both available in Starter — Active Digital Preservation.

Three common DAM and Digital Preservation use cases


Digital archiving and preservation

When used in combination DAM and Digital Preservation create a virtuous cycle that enables assets to be reused and repurposed over the long-term to grow brand value, protect corporate memory and meet compliance or litigation needs.


Automated content harvesting

When your valuable digital is born in other applications, Active Digital Preservation uses seamless APIs to pull information from content locations into a preservation platform as a single source of historical knowledge.


Application decommissioning

What to do with DAM content at the end of a contract agreement? When decommissioning applications, your valuable digital content can be migrated using Active Digital Preservation to keep this information alive in your ecosystem - even if the application itself has become obsolete.

How to get stakeholder buy-in

Conveying the value of a standards-based preservation solution to stakeholders is crucial. Show the core values of preservation: search, access and actionability for how you’ll use it in the future.

Find those advocates within the business who are your biggest cheerleaders to help get the backing, money and support you need. Be confident why you need a Digital Preservation strategy and be prepared to show how it would make you compliant and mitigate risks.

Everything you need to get Started

When it comes to Digital Preservation- the earlier you get started, the better. Digital Preservation can’t wait, our digital content is just too fragile.

That’s why we created Preservica Starter, to make Active Digital Preservation accessible and free to everyone. You can sign up here for FREE and get everything you need to begin your journey toward Active Digital Preservation, including:

  • Automated Preservation Actions- just drag and drop your digital content in and all of the ongoing preservation actions to keep your content alive will happen automatically.
  • 5GB of Cloud Storage- Plenty of storage to get started is included. This first 5GB is all yours for FREE, forever! You can grow to many of our tiered options, or stick to the 5GB if that suits your needs.
  • Access Control - Easily share your collections with others- you control the access to your valuable digital content with the universal access portal.

How to add Digital Preservation to your existing Digital Asset Management (DAM) system

For those looking to add a Digital Preservation layer to their existing Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, we recommend using Starter in 3 ways:

  1. 1. Build the case- facing the common challenges of a lack of time and budget? Use Starter to get buy-in from your stakeholders and elevate the value of your project. Click here for some great tips
  1. 2. Preservation of select assets- how much exactly is 5GB of preservation storage? It’s 35,00 Word documents, 5,000 PDF documents, 5,000 JPEG files, 300 Hi-resolution TIFF files, 200 MP3 files, 30 MP4 files. There’s a lot you can do with that. Another common strategy we see with our DAM users is to be selective with their preservation and pick out the most important items with the most significant long-term value. Getting these valuable items preserved as soon as possible gives you peace of mind.
  1. 3. Research and learning- not only is Starter a powerful free tool, but it also comes with some great ways to continue your research in Active Digital Preservation. When you sign up, you’ll gain access to the Preservica Community Hub- the world’s largest and most active online Digital Preservation forum. Ask questions, network, share, learn, and have fun. There are some great discussions and threads around the DAM preservation conversation, including this one on incorporating Digital Preservation into your DAM program.

Get started today

Here’s a free way to get started with Digital Preservation, add a preservation layer to your existing Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, learn more, or to start building the case for Digital Preservation.

Incorporating Digital Preservation into Your DAM Program

Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Digital Preservation - What’s the difference?

Learn how DAM and Digital Preservation can be used in combination to provide greater long-term brand value and asset reuse.

Using Digital Preservation for brand authenticity and protection

Explore the importance of traceability and trust for brand authenticity and how Digital Preservation can support.

[Case Study] The Absolut Company chooses Preservica to future-proof its 140-year history

Learn how Absolut Vodka is using Active Digital Preservation to safeguard unique branding, including advertising, posters and product images.

Start preserving your digital content today