During DNA extraction the DNA molecule undergoes physical and chemical shearing, causing the DNA to fragment into shorter and shorter pieces. Under common laboratory conditions this fragmentation yields DNA fragments of 5-35 kilobases (kb) in length. This fragment length is more than sufficient for DNA sequencing using short-read technologies which generate reads 50-600 bp in length, but insufficient for long-read sequencing and linked reads where fragment lengths of more than 40 kb may be desirable. This study provides a theoretical framework for quality management to ensure access to high molecular weight DNA in samples. Shearing can be divided into physical and chemical shearing which generate different patterns of fragmentation. Exposure to physical shearing creates a characteristic fragment length where DNA fragments are cut in half by shear stress. This characteristic length can be measured using gel electrophoresis or instruments for DNA fragment analysis. Chemical shearing generates randomly distributed fragment lengths visible as a smear of DNA below the peak fragment length. By measuring the peak of DNA fragment length and the proportion of very short DNA fragments both sources of shearing can be measured using commonly used laboratory techniques, providing a suitable quantification of DNA integrity of DNA for sequencing with long-read technologies.