Original Research

Digital preservation systems and technologies in South African academic libraries

Tlou M. Masenya, Patrick Ngulube
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 23, No 1 | a1249 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v23i1.1249 | © 2021 Tlou M. Masenya, Patrick Ngulube | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 May 2020 | Published: 26 April 2021

About the author(s)

Tlou M. Masenya, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Patrick Ngulube, School of Interdisciplinary Research and Postgraduate Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Background: Academic institutions risk losing vital digital information if urgent measures are not taken to safeguard digital resources and to allow for long-term access. New systems and technologies are thus needed to deal with the digital preservation challenges.

Objectives: The purpose of this article was to investigate the systems and technologies being used to support digital preservation within academic libraries in South Africa with a view to provide solutions for effective digital preservation. The study thus looked into theories, models, systems and technologies used in preserving the digital resources in order to enhance the success of the implementation of the digital preservation systems in academic libraries in South Africa.

Method: This study adopted a quantitative research approach by using a survey research design. In South Africa, there are 27 academic institutions, and all these institutions constituted the target population and all were included in the sample of the study. An online questionnaire was used as the data collection instrument and it was emailed to all 27 academic institutions in South Africa.

Results: The findings revealed that most academic libraries were adopting new technologies for preserving their digital resources. DSpace, E-print, ETD, digital commons, LOCKSS, DigiTool, Content dm and Archive-IT were noted as technologies that were commonly used by many academic institutions in preserving their digital resources.

Conclusion: Although different technologies are being implemented to support digital preservation in academic libraries, these institutions should make sure these systems are compatible with archival standards and should also account for technological changes so that the entities may continue to be migrated to newer platforms as needed to avoid technological obsolescence.


digital preservation; digital resources; digital preservation system; academic libraries; digital technologies


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