The Perceived Value of Acquiring Data Seals of Approval
The Data Seal of Approval (DSA) is one of the most widely used standards for Trusted Digital Repositories to date. Those who developed this standard have articulated seven main benefits of acquiring DSAs: 1) stakeholder confidence, 2) improvements in communication, 3) improvement in processes, 4) transparency, 5) differentiation from others, 6) awareness raising about digital preservation, and 7) less labor- and time-intensive. Little research has focused on if and how those who have acquired DSAs actually perceive these benefits. Consequently, this study examines the benefits of acquiring DSAs from the point of view of those who have them. In a series of 15 semi-structured interviews with representatives from 16 different organizations, participants described the benefits of having DSAs in their own words. Our findings suggest that participants experience all of the seven benefits that those who developed the standard promised. Additionally, our findings reflect the greater importance of some of those benefits compared to others. For example, participants mentioned the benefits of stakeholder confidence, transparency, improvement in processes and awareness raising about digital preservation more frequently than they discussed less labor- and time-intensive (e.g. it being less labor- and time-intensive to acquire DSAs than becoming certified by other standards), improvements in communication, and differentiation from others. Participants also mentioned two additional benefits of acquiring DSAs that are not explicitly listed on the DSA website that were very important to them: 1) the impact of acquiring the DSA on documentation of their workflows, and 2) assurance that they were following best practice. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.
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