Main Article Content
Many studies concur that most of the world’s heritage resources, including digital records, are highly vulnerable to loss, and some cannot be recovered due to neglect or mismanagement. Strategies are thus needed to ensure long-term preservation and global access to digital records of enduring value. Metadata systems have been regarded as a suitable strategy to support digital preservation processes and prevent digital records loss within cultural heritage institutions. The purpose of this paper was to investigate the adoption of metadata systems in cultural heritage institutions in South Africa. This study utilised literature review to critically examine the use of metadata systems for the preservation of digital records in cultural heritage institutions. Although various preservation systems and strategies are being developed to enable description, discovery and delivery of digital records, the findings revealed that South African cultural heritage institutions’ level of metadata system adoption is low. This is due to lack of awareness about metadata schemas and standards, lack of technical expertise, inadequate funding and lack of technological infrastructure. Several recommendations are made to enhance preservation of digital records, including increasing awareness and the implementation of metadata systems, schemas and policies.