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Monday, September 26, 2005

Digital Archiving : Technological Challenges For Future Generation

(Via SMH) While many think that digital archiving would serve the interests of future generation – but it appears that the major challenge facing the "digital" generation is means to stores masses of machine-generated, machine-read material in a form that is safe, secure from degradation and - potentially most calamitous in the long term & make them accessible to subsequent generations. Far from being an effective solution, to problems of recording, storing and retrieving information, the technology appears deeply flawed. Instead of paperless offices and clean, eco-friendly, endlessly flexible, virtual communication, it threatens to cast future generations into a "digital dark age". Come to think of it, forty years from now how would future generations access material stored in CD’s – which could be seen as digitally obsolete then. Librarians and archivists - gloomily pondering the implications for future scholarship of the replacement of written letters by more easily killed, less easily opened emails - agonise over the digitation of irreplaceable hard-copy material. Records of the entire present period of history are jeopardised by precisely the technology, and the pace of the technological change, that characterised it –The content and historical value of many governmental, organisational, legal, financial and technical records, scientific databases and personal documents may be irretrievably lost to future generations if we do not take steps to protect them. The National Archives of Australia is working on a preservation project to create a standard process and infrastructure for the long-term storage of government digital records. The office has put together Future Proof, a 10-point strategy based on the best Australian standards. It stresses the need to plan long-term (even before records are created), build partnerships in and outside government, and devise record-keeping systems for managing and monitoring data.
Its options include:
- Conservation, to ensure records do not degrade;
- Conversion of records from one medium or format to another, such as paper records to microfilm or optical disk;
- Migration of records from one system to another, such as from one software application to the next; and
- Retention of original equipment.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"