Founded in 2010, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), an outgrowth of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), is a collaborative effort among government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and businesses to preserve a distributed national digital collection for the benefit of citizens now and in the future. The purpose of the Alliance is to create and sustain a national network of trusted partners to collect, preserve, and ensure long-term access to a national collection of digital content of value to Congress and the American people.
The NDSA comprises over 150 members. These members come from 45 states and include universities, consortia, professional societies, commercial businesses, professional associations, and government agencies at the federal, state, and local level. NDSA organizations have proven themselves committed to long‐term preservation of digital information. Together, these institutions have contributed over 10,000 hours of expertise to NDSA projects.
The Alliance's functions are sixfold:
- Build and sustain a national digital collection, a rich and diverse record of the national experience and information vital to the nation.
- Support collaboration among Alliance member organizations and affiliates.
- Identify, develop, and maintain services, standards, best practices, and sustainable business models of direct benefit to the Alliance.
- Facilitate the development of a networked technical infrastructure, tools, and storage capacity for the Alliance.
- Ensure the advancement of digital preservation science and technologies by encouraging research and development.
- Foster an environment that supports long-term access to digital content through education, advocacy, and encouragement of sound public information policies.
NDSA has established five Working Groups focusing on the following areas of digital preservation:
- Content Working Group: Focusing on the selection, discovery and preservation of digital content. For example, the group members are prototyping a preservation plug-in to enable content creators to opt-in to preservation and conducting surveys around U.S. web archiving practices.
- Standards and Practices Working Group: Promoting effective methods for digital content selection, organization, preservation and access. Current activities include, work to enhance coverage information and resources on born digital preservation concerns and criteria in Wikipedia.
- Infrastructure Working Group: Working to identify and share emerging practices around the development and maintenance of tools and systems for curation and preservation. For example, the Infrastructure Working Group is studying and reporting on member approaches to design and operation of large scale storage systems. Other work includes, investigating decision modeling for implementing open-source digital preservation software.
- Innovation Working Group: Working to encourage and share innovative methods of digital preservation practices and technologies. For example, the Innovation Working Group highlights innovative projects and practitioners through a series of published interviews on The Signal. The Group is also developing an award program to recognize groundbreaking work in digital stewardship.
- Outreach Working Group: Building relationships with stakeholder communities and preparing and sharing digital preservation information resources. For example, The NDSA Outreach Working Group is collecting stories of personal, professional and institutional data loss as both an opportunity to help communicate the urgency and of digital preservation.