For world leading expertise in digital preservation

His latest book Thinking Digital Preservation is published on Amazon.

This book will provide the readers with the mental tools to enable them to think their way through challenges concerning digital preservation.

It will show the readers how to think about and understand digital preservation in a way that will enable them to cope with whatever preservation challenges are presented, now and in the future.

The aim is to enable the readers, when presented with digitally encoded information which must be preserved, to be able to evaluate proposed solutions or, evaluate and choose between options if they wish to implement a solution themselves.Hence the first part of the title “Thinking Digital Preservation”.

The part of the title which says “for the serious, intelligent digital preserver” is a hint that some of the content of this book may be thought to be too detailed and perhaps a little hard.But consider a motor mechanic working on your family’s car. You would be worried if they did not know the details of how a car works including details of the engine and brakes. Similarly, one would not wish to fly in a plane for which the designer did not have detailed knowledge of the appropriate topics which require working diligently through, and mastering, very hard mathematical and engineering techniques. Even the pilot will need to know a fair amount about the fundamentals of flight in order to deal with emergencies.With these thoughts in mind, consider someone who is responsible for preserving your valuable digital information. Surely you would be very concerned if that person said: “I cannot be bothered to understand the details, they are too difficult, so I only look at the easy stuff”. Surely you would be outraged and would seek someone else to undertake the preservation. You would be right to react in that way.Hence if readers claim to be, or wish to claim to be, serious, intelligent, digital preservers, they must put in the effort to read and understand this book.

David Giaretta has worked in digital preservation since 1990 and has led many of the most important developments in this area.
He chaired the panel which produced the OAIS Reference Model (ISO 14721), the “de facto” standard for building digital archives, and made fundamental contributions to that standard. He led the 2012 update of OAIS and is leading the current update.

He leads the group which produced the ISO standard for audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories (ISO 16363), and IS016919, which are fundamental to the setting up the certification process; details are available on the PTAB website (

He has led a number of large digital preservation projects, representing an investment by the EU and more than 50 partner organisations of several tens of millions of Euros. These projects include CASPAR, PARSE.InsightAPARSEN and SCIDIP-ES – details available here. These build on his experience working in and leading large data digital repositories and software systems.
Involved with the Alliance for Permanent Access (APA) from its start to its establishment, David Giaretta became the Director of the APA in July 2010.

A full list of publications is available here.


In 2011 his book “Advanced Digital Preservation” was published.

Most organisations depend on their digitally encoded intellectual capital. Backup plans can help ensure business continuity in case of disaster but how can your organisation ensure that it benefits from its digital capital?

Based on this leadership in the field, Giaretta Associates can provide advice and guidance about ways to ensure your data is valuable now and into the future including:

If you are starting from scratch we offer:

  • Data management and repository systems – planning, organising and implementing digital repositories
  • Large scale storage
  • Specific Archival issues e.g. dealing with government documents

If you have an existing repository but think it needs improvement we offer:

  • Preservation services and tools to supplement existing repository capabilities – what tools and services can help to improve a repository’s preservation capabilities without disruptive change?

If you or your staff need to know more about preservation we offer:

  • Training in all aspects of digital preservation

If you want to make sure that everything needed for preservation is collected before it is put into a repository we offer:

  • Data management planning

If you want to stand out from the other repositories by obtaining ISO 16363 certification we offer:

  • Audit preparation
  • Audit improvement plan implementation


IUE Team Award from President Reagan

HST award

Award from President Reagan to the International Ultraviolet Explorer TeamAward for work on Hubble Space TelescopeIn 2003 he was awarded an MBE for services to Space Science.
David Giaretta featured in IBM Think 2006

Ken Thibodeau presenting the 2012 Emmett Leahy Award to Dr. David Giaretta

Featured in IBM Think 2006September 2012 David was awarded the Emmett Leahy Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Information and Records. August 2013 David Giaretta was appointed special advisor for digital preservation to Renmin University, Beijing


He gained his BA, MA, MSc and a doctorate in Theoretical Physics from Oxford University.
He chaired the CCSDS/ISO panel which wrote the OAIS standard (ISO 14721:2002) and led the update in 2012. He then worked on many of the follow on standards listed in the OAIS  road-map.  Work on certification was carried forward by the Task Force on Digital Repository Certification, of which David was a member. This group produced, in 2007, the TRAC document which was the initial draft on certification. As planned, this draft was taken back into CCSDS/ISO to a panel chaired by David, which refined and reorganised it to make it more suitable for audits. In 2012 this was published as ISO 16363, which completely superseded TRAC. The panel then produced ISO 16919:2014 which plays the important role of specifying the requirements on bodies which provide audit and certification, fitting into the international ISO process of audit and certification.
He has worked on a number of astronomical satellites, being UK resident astronomer for IUE and the calibration lead in the USA on the Faint Object Camera of the Hubble Space Telescope and has extensive experience in planning, developing and running scientific archives and providing and managing a variety of services to large numbers of users.
Dr Giaretta has published many scientific papers in refereed journals and given presentations at many international conferences, scientific as well as technical. In addition he has broad experience in e-Science. He is a member of the programme committee of the PV series of conferences which focuses on preservation and adding value to scientific and technical data and several other conference series.
In 2005 he co-organised the Warwick workshop “Digital Curation and Preservation: Defining the research agenda for the next decade” which has proved to be very influential in the UK and internationally. More recently he was rapporteur for the EU High Level Group on Scientific Data whose report Riding the Wave put forward a vision for 2030.
Dr Giaretta was Associate Director for Development of the UK Digital Curation Centre. He then led a number of EU projects, closely linked to the APA, focussed on digital preservation. These included CASPAR which implemented much of the first APA research plan, addressing fundamental issues of digital preservation, producing prototype infrastructure components and tools for preservation of all types of digitally encoded information together with evidence of their effectiveness. PARSE.Insight identified users’ views on the main threats to, and their attitudes towards, preservation.
APARSEN brought together commercial and public organisations across Europe to come to a common vision for research in digital preservation. The SCIDIP-ES project tested key infrastructure components, based on those prototyped by CASPAR, to help organisations be more trustworthy as preservers of digitally encoded information.

He founded and co-chairs the Research Data Alliance group on Active Data Management Plans and the group on Preservation e-Infrastructure.