The Digital Readiness Levels are a structured roadmap for public history organizations to plan and sustainably grow their digital initiatives in order to improve access to collections.
|Laying a strong foundation
|Putting it into practice
|Refining and sustaining
|Plan and Prioritize
|Set goals for digital work that fit the organization's mission and policies. Adopt a digital mission statement or revise existing mission statement to include digital work.
|Identify and prioritize potential digital projects. Make a digital project plan that includes roles, activities, required resources and partners.
|Adopt a digital collection development policy or revise existing policy to include digitized and born digital content.
|Create and use permission forms and donor agreements that include specific language for the use of digitized and born digital content or modify existing forms.
|Evaluate copyright status of content. Identify items with access restrictions or concerns, including privacy, ethical, or cultural considerations.
|Assign standardized rights statements or Creative Commons licenses for collection items. Adopt a takedown policy and, if applicable, a statement on harmful content.
|Determine standards and procedures to be used to digitize physical materials or process born digital content.
|Using identified standards, undertake digitization or born-digital processing work either in-house or with an appropriate vendor or partner.
|Use a quality control checklist to review content and confirm it meets identified standards.
|Adopt a consistent naming convention for digital files. Determine standards to be used to describe digital content.
|Using identified standards, create basic descriptive metadata for terms.
|Develop a data dictionary and use controlled vocabularies to standardize metadata.
|Review goals and options for providing access to content. Choose an access platform or system that meets identified needs.
|Make items and associated descriptive information available for discovery and repurposing.
|Implement techniques to support accessibility of online content, including alt text, transcripts, and other best practices.
|Store and Maintain
|Create and maintain a collection-level inventory of digital content.
|Store at least two, preferably three, copies of each primary file and related metadata, with one copy stored off-site. Check and refresh storage media on a regular schedule.
|Plan for future storage needs. Use software tools to check file integrity.
|Identify primary users and ways to engage them with digital content.
|Collect data and stories about how digital content is stored.
|Use collected data and stories to inform future collection development, outreach, and programming. Share knowledge with other practitioners to build community around digital work.