What is APTrust?

In part, the Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust) is a consortium of higher education institutions committed to providing both a preservation repository for digital content and collaboratively developed services related to that content.  The APTrust repository accepts digital materials in all formats from member institutions, and provides redundant storage in the cloud.  It is managed and operated by the University of Virginia. The APTrust consortium leverages the expertise of its members to identify and articulate needs for the digital content environment, to prioritize service development, and to collaboratively build solutions.  This approach generates economies of scale and increases value for all members.

Membership and Staff

The Academic Preservation Trust seeks to add members who are interested in participating in building the consortium’s infrastructure, including governance and operations. Institutional members are encouraged and expected to participate both at the dean and staff levels as the organization builds to full maturity. If your institution or library is interested in joining APTrust, please contact our Program Director, Chip German.

APTrust staff include:

  • R. F. (Chip) German Jr.,  program director
  • Bradley Daigle, partnerships and content lead
  • Andrew Diamond, lead developer
  • Christian Dahlhausen, systems administrator/developer

Member Costs and Expected Contributions

Membership in APTrust is an investment in and a commitment to collaborative solutions to some of the biggest challenges of digital preservation facing research libraries today.  Membership dues are $20,000 per year, and they fund a range of consortial activities and forms of engagement in national and international conversations about digital preservation. A portion of the dues covers annual preservation costs of an allocation of digital content (currently 10 TB) for each member.  The consortium holds two meetings per year with no registration fee for any attendee from one of its institutions: the fall meeting with all institutional members and the spring meeting emphasizing its working-group tasks. Members contribute their time throughout the year by participating in working and interest groups, and two representatives selected by the library dean or director of each sustaining-member institution serve on the APTrust Advisory Committee.  Major conferences regularly accept presentation proposals from staff of member institutions on their usage of APTrust and related topics.

Click here to see APTrust answers to the 20 Cost Questions suggested by the MetaArchive Cooperative in Spring 2015.


APTrust accepts all types of digital content from its member institutions, including but not limited to print, audio, video, and encrypted files. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform provides APTrust with unlimited capacity that usually generates costs only as it is needed or used.  A portion of the APTrust annual membership dues covers preservation of the first 10 terabytes of content per member, and members may purchase additional capacity in increments of 1 terabyte at a current cost of $420 per year.  Those core service costs provide for three preservation copies of content in separate S3 availability zones in the AWS data center in Virginia and three preservation copies of content in separate Glacier availability zones in AWS's Oregon data center.  APTrust conducts fixity checks on deposited content every three months.  In 2018-19, APTrust is introducing a Glacier-only service with three copies of content in separate availability zones in the AWS data center of the depositor's choice.  We will provide this service, which represents a lower-assurance preservation component for institutional preservation programs, at an initial cost of $60 per terabyte per year as we gain clearer understanding of its true costs through usage.  Member dues do not cover any costs for this service.

Environmental Sustainability

The preservation storage and computing services behind APTrust are provided currently by Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Operating those services and any others we add in the future in an environmentally responsible way is a goal of the APTrust consortium.  Achieving progress toward that goal is a complicated challenge for which we invite our membership and the larger community to give us ongoing advice.  As a starting point, you will find information from AWS on steps it has taken here

Governing Board

The Governing Board is the primary governing body for APTrust; however, member institutions contribute actively to governance through input gathered by the Board. The Board defines and recommends strategic direction to help meet operational and strategic goals and provides advice and oversight for the budget and finances. The Board meets in person or by phone as needed and holds an annual meeting of the Board with all institutional members.

APTrust is legally constituted as part of the University of Virginia. Activities and operating guidelines of APTrust are subject to the rules and policies of the University of Virginia, as are any agreements between individual member institutions and the University of Virginia.

Members of the Board

Winston Tabb


Johns Hopkins University

Greg Raschke

Board Member

North Carolina State University

Diane Walker

Board Member

University of Notre Dame

Tyler Walters

Board Member

Virginia Tech

John Unsworth

Board Member

University of Virginia

Rosalyn Metz

Board Member (Advisory Committee Liaison

Emory University

Nathan Tallman

Board Member (Advisory Committee Liaison)

Pennsylvania State University

R. F. (Chip) German Jr.

Program Director, ex-officio Board Member

Academic Preservation Trust

Sarah Michalak

Board Member Emeritus

University of North Carolina

Linda Newman

Board Member Emeritus

University of Cincinnati

Martha Sites

Board Member Emeritus

University of Virginia

Patricia Steele

Board Member Emeritus

University of Maryland

Ann Thornton

Board Member Emeritus

Columbia University

Karin Wittenborg

Board Member Emeritus

University of Virginia

Winston Tabb became Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and director of the Sheridan Libraries in September 2002. He had been associate librarian at the Library of Congress. Since his arrival at Johns Hopkins, Tabb has accepted additional assignments as dean of the university's museums.

As dean of the libraries, Tabb directs the integration of new information technologies throughout the university's libraries and, as head of the University Libraries Council, leads and coordinates Johns Hopkins' entire system of libraries, which includes the Welch Medical Library and its satellite libraries; the Mason Library at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.; the Friedheim Library at the Peabody Conservatory; and libraries at the Johns Hopkins regional campuses and centers for part-time study in Washington, D.C.; Rockville, Md.; Columbia, Md.; and downtown Baltimore.

He is also director of the Sheridan Libraries, which include the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at the Homewood campus; the George Peabody Library at Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore; the John Work Garrett Library at Evergreen Museum & Library; and the Hutzler Undergraduate Reading Room at Homewood. Tabb also is dean of the university's museums, overseeing Homewood Museum and Evergreen Museum & Library. Both are open to the public for tours, arts exhibitions, concerts and other events, and both are also increasingly involved in the academic life of the university.

In July 2006, Tabb was appointed for a two-year term to the additional university-wide role of vice provost for the arts. In that position, he oversaw the implementation of the recommendations of the Homewood Arts Task Force, which he chaired, and coordinated efforts to extend its work across the university. Tabb also was charged with developing a strategy for funding arts initiatives and with building relationships with arts organizations in the greater Baltimore community.

Before coming to Johns Hopkins, Tabb had been at the Library of Congress since 1972, in a variety of roles. As associate librarian since 1992, he had managed 53 of the library's divisions and offices with more than 2,400 employees. Within his areas of responsibility were cataloging, circulation, the reading rooms, special collections, archives, preservation and the presentation of digital materials online.

A native of Tulsa, Okla., Tabb graduated from the Oklahoma Baptist University and went to Harvard University as a Woodrow Wilson fellow, earning a master's degree before serving in the U.S. Army as an instructor of English in Thailand. He earned his degree in library science from Simmons College in 1972 and was one of six outstanding graduates recruited that year to join the professional staff of the Library of Congress.

Greg Raschke is the Associate Director for Collections and Scholarly Communication at the NCSU Libraries where he leads programs to build, manage, and preserve the Libraries’ extensive collections. His responsibilities include overseeing the collections program and the development of digital collections. He leads the Libraries’ partnerships in developing new and sustainable channels for scholarly communication.

Raschke also administers the Friends of the Library annual giving and special programs and events. He has published and presented on diverse topics such as the future of research library collections, electronic resources and organizational change, and recruitment practices in academic libraries.

Diane Parr Walker was appointed the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian at the University of Notre Dame in 2011.

The Hesburgh Libraries at Notre Dame include more than 175 faculty and staff members and comprise the main Hesburgh Library and eight branch libraries across campus. Together the libraries contain more than 3.5 million physical volumes, offer access to an equal number of electronic titles, and are visited by over 1 million people each year.

Walker’s vision for the libraries is grounded in her abiding commitment to supporting the academic and research goals of the university. Through her leadership, she has clarified that the mission of the Hesburgh Libraries is and always has been to connect people to knowledge. The Libraries’ job is to acquire, preserve, organize and steward knowledge in any format, making it accessible to all scholars throughout time and across geographic boundaries.

Walker previously served University Libraries at the University of Virginia in several roles over nearly 27 years, first as music librarian, and finally as deputy university librarian. She is a past president of the Music Library Association and serves on the boards of the Academic Libraries of Indiana, the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance in addition to the APTrust board. She began her research library career at the University of Illinois and the State University of New York at Buffalo. She earned master’s degrees in musicology from the University of Iowa and in library and information science from the University of Illinois. Her bachelor’s degree in music literature is from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois.


Tyler Walters is the Dean, University Libraries, and Professor, Virginia Tech. At Virginia Tech, he is raising new resources and transforming the libraries, focusing on creating new literacy programs and pedagogical partnerships, developing new learning spaces, devising improved approaches to collections access, and embedding the libraries in the research enterprise through activities like data management, technology development, and digital scholarship production.

Previously he was the Associate Dean, Technology and Resource Services, Georgia Tech Library (2002-2011) where he had responsibility for Collection Acquisitions & Management, Scholarly Communication & Digital Services, Information Technology & Development, and Archives & Records Management. Among Tyler’s accomplishments were founding the SMARTech Institutional Repository (IRs) which holds all the university-produced scholarship and research information and is one of the country’s top five IRs, and founding the Georgia Knowledge Repository, a statewide IR program in Georgia. During his tenure, the Georgia Tech Libraries won the 2007 ACRL Excellence in Libraries Award.  

John M. Unsworth assumed the role of University Librarian and Dean of Libraries on June 25, 2016.  That day marked his return to the university where he received his Ph.D. in English and later served as a faculty member and as the first director of the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities, from 1993–2003.

Unsworth moved to UVA from Brandeis University, where he had been vice provost, university librarian and chief information officer since 2012. Prior to Brandeis, he served as dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from 2003-2012.  There he also held faculty apopintments in library and information science, English, and library administration.

Recognized as a pioneer in the field of digital humanities, Unsworth is co-founder of the first peer-reviewed electronic journal in the humanities, Postmodern Culture.  His areas of expertise include scholarly communication, digital humanities, history of books and publishing, and 20th-century American Literature. 

In addition to his Ph.D. from UVA, Unsworth graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Amherst College in 1981 and a Master of Arts degree in English from Boston University in 1982.  He was recognized for his role in establishing the digital humanities with the 2005 Richard W. Lyman Award from the National Humanities Center, and with a 2012 presidential nomination to the National Humanities Council.


Rosalyn Metz serves as the Director of Library Technology and Digital Strategies at Emory University in Atlanta. She received a BA from The George Washington University and an MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

At Emory University Rosalyn leads a diverse cross-functional team that provides technology support for the libraries. She is a member of Fedora Leaders, Chair of Fedora Steering, Chair-elect of Samvera Steering, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Oxford Common File Layout. 

As Digital Preservation Librarian at Penn State University, Nathan Tallman coordinates policies, workflows and practices to ensure the long-term preservation and access of the University Libraries’ born-digital and born-analog collections. He advises on equipment, infrastructure, and vendors for Penn State digital content. Nathan also helps manage access systems by coordinating local practices and support for digital collections. He is a member of the NDSA Coordinating Committee, co-chairs the NDSA Infrastructure Interest Group, and is a member of several working groups. Nathan is also a member of the Metaarchive Cooperative Steering Committee. Prior to Penn State, Nathan was the Digital Content Strategist at the University of Cincinnati and Associate Archivist at the American Jewish Archives. He earned his M.L.S. and a B.S. in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Since 2014, R.F. (Chip) German Jr. has been program director of the Academic Preservation Trust, hosted at the University of Virginia, and senior director at the University of Virginia Library.  From 2013 to 2014, he served as project director for the new University Financial Model at UVa.

Before returning to the University of Virginia, German served as vice president for information resources at Millersville University in Millersville, PA, from 2008 to 2013, and as vice president for information resources and chief information officer at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA, from 2002 to 2008.  In both roles his responsibilities included the university library and information technology organizations.

Prior to UMW, German served for twenty years in various roles at the University of Virginia, including nine as director of policy and strategic planning at UVa's Department of Information Technology and Communication and four years as chief of staff to the president.

Sarah C. Michalak retired from her role as  Associate Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian in 2017. Sarah came to the University of North Carolina from the University of Utah, where she served as director of the J. Willard Marriott Library for nine years. She has also worked at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Washington.

Michalak served two terms on the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Board of Directors and as chair of the ARL Public Policies Steering Committee. She is the chair of the HathiTrust Board of Directors and she is the past chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Research Libraries. Two of her favorite projects were serving as the librarian lead on construction of the Allen Library at UW and hosting the North Carolina Literary Festival.

In 2018, Linda Newman retired as Head of Digital Collections and Repositories at the University of Cincinnati Libraries.  She had a 30+ year career in Libraries focusing on systems support, digitization and software development. At UC, she lead a team of software developers who were building a digital repository using the framework provided by Project Samvera.

Martha Sites retired in July 2016 after serving for a year and a half as the interim University Librarian and Dean of the Library at the University of Virginia where she was responsible for 11 libraries and an off-site high-density shelving facility. Prior to her move to the Library in 1996 to serve as Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and then Deputy University Librarian, she was Director of User Support in UVa’s central information technology organization.

Sites has served on numerous University and national councils and task forces. Her passion is enabling the use of technology in research, teaching, and learning, and her current professional interests include digital preservation; data curation; next-generation organization & service models in libraries; and development of library leaders.

Patricia Steele retired as Dean of Libraries at the University of Maryland,  a role in which she providedstrategic direction and leadership to an organization committed to addressing the changing needs of the academic community in 2015. Since becoming dean in September 2009, Steele focused on increasing services and experiences for students, most visibly in the creation of the Terrapin Learning Commons, a technology-rich space to support student learning and collaboration in McKeldin Library.

She served on the executive board of Kuali OLE; on the board of governors of the HathiTrust Digital Library; on the board of directors of the National Information Standards Organization; and as a representative to the Association of Research Libraries.

Previously, Steele was Ruth Lilly University Dean of Libraries at Indiana University, where she served for more than 30 years in numerous leadership roles. At Indiana, Steele served as president of the Indiana Library Federation and officer in the Digital Library Federation.

Ann Thornton is Vice Provost and University Librarian for Columbia University in the City of New York, where she is responsible for one of the top five academic research library systems in North America with world-class physical and digital collections and expert staff in support of research, teaching, and learning. She came to Columbia in June 2015 after serving for nearly two decades at the New York Public Library, where she was most recently the Andrew W. Mellon Director, a position she held since 2012. Early in her career, Ms. Thornton served as a systems librarian at the University of Houston Libraries. Ms. Thornton is a board member of the Association of Research Libraries, and she serves on the New York State Education Department’s Board of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries and on the Council of Experts for the National Academic Library and Information Systems Foundation of Bulgaria.

Karin Wittenborg served as University Librarian at the University of Virginia from 1993 to 2014. She previously held positions at UCLA, Stanford, MIT, and the State University of New York. She received a BA from Brown University and an MLS from SUNY-Buffalo. 

Wittenborg has served on the advisory councils for Stanford University Libraries, Brown University’s Library and John Hopkins University Library. She also serves on the Council of Library and Information Resources Executive Council and the Board of the Digital Preservation Network (DPN).

Her professional interests include scholarship in the digital era, new forms of publishing, special collections, and staffing for the new roles of research libraries.

The APTrust Advisory Committee 2019-20

  • Rosalyn Metz, Emory University
  • Kathryn Michaelis, Emory University
  • Shu-chen Tsung, Georgetown University
  • Suzanne Chase, Georgetown University
  • Michael Shallcross, Indiana University
  • Jordon Steele, Johns Hopkins University
  • Jill Sexton, North Carolina State University
  • Jamie Bradway, North Carolina State University
  • Karen Estlund, Pennsylvania State University
  • Nathan Tallman, Pennsylvania State University
  • Mike Hagedon, University of Arizona
  • Monique Lassere, University of Arizona
  • May Chang University of Cincinnati
  • Glen Horton, University of Cincinnati
  • Kate Dohe, University of Maryland
  • Josh Westgard, University of Maryland
  • Paul Clough, University of Miami
  • Bryan Skib, University of Michigan
  • John Weise, University of Michigan
  • Tracy Bergstrom, University of Notre Dame
  • Zheng Wang, University of Notre Dame
  • Kara McClurken, University of Virginia
  • Stan Gunn, University of Virginia
  • Nathan Hall, Virginia Tech
  • Alex Kinnaman, Virginia Tech
  • Jay Gaidmore, William & Mary
  • Deborah Cornell, William & Mary

The Formation of the Academic Preservation Trust

[For a more detailed outline of APTrust's history and the maturation of its operating concepts through 2017, see "In Medias Res: An Examination of Work in Progress at the Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust) Consortium" at https://doi.org/10.18130/v3-f34g-3d50.]

In August 2011, University of Virginia Dean of Libraries, Karin Wittenborg, and James Hilton, then Chief Information Officer, convened a meeting of colleagues from six universities (Duke University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University) to discuss the challenges of preserving the growing amount of digital content. The group discussed the possibility of aligning each institution’s preservation efforts to:

  • preserve the scholarly record in ways that would allow the digital copy to be the copy of record
  • provide sustained funding for digital preservation of the scholarly record
  • accomplish more together

Coalescing around the need to preserve academic content and believing a community approach would be more productive, they created a consortium, Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust), that was committed to creating and managing an aggregated preservation repository.

The group invited five additional like-minded institutions to become founding members of the consortium: Columbia University, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, Stanford University, and Syracuse University.  

Each of the founding members recognized the value of leveraging joint resources and defining common goals. With these principles, the Academic Preservation Trust was born. 

The solid alignment of the members was instrumental in creating this value statement:

The Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust) consortium is committed to the creation and management of a preservation repository that will aggregate academic and research content from many institutions. Solutions will be based on respected open-source technologies that are scalable, sustainable, and provide audit functionality.

As part of a national strategy for long-term preservation, the APTrust repository will serve as a replicating node for the Digital Preservation Network (DPN). At the local level, APTrust will provide a preservation environment for participating members, including disaster recovery services. By leveraging the expertise and resources of multiple institutions, APTrust will realize economies of scale and increase value for all members.

The consortium will work together to determine the shape of future services and best practices as they align around solutions for the common good.  Ultimately, APTrust will enable academic libraries to protect the scholarship produced by the academy, a value that will transcend us all.*

Currently the Academic Preservation Trust includes public and private higher education-members, but is exploring additional membership models. It remains a consortia that values collaboration among the leaders, technologists, and content specialists from each member institution.

* The APTrust Story: a collaborative model for digital preservation by Martha Sites, Deputy University Librarian, University of Virginia, 04/22/13.