Friday, November 16, 2007

Digital Preservation Matters - 16 November 2007

Electronic Records Management and Digital Preservation: Protecting the Knowledge Assets of the State Government Enterprise. Eric Sweden. NASCIO. October 2007. [pdf]

Electronic records management and digital preservation must be a shared responsibility, including understanding and support, from the CIO. Everyone needs to be part of managing digital assets. These initiatives must be managed on the organizational level. The team needs enterprise architects, project managers, electronic records managers, librarians and archivists to ensure the knowledge assets are managed properly. Technology create both opportunities and challenges. The goal of Digital Preservation systems is to make sure the information they contain remains accessible to users over a long period of time. A challenge is to keep bit streams intact and usable long term. You need to know what to preserve and how to preserve the records. The strategy must address preservation for the life of the record. There is not a single best way to preserve digital materials. Digital materials do not allow preservation procrastination. If a record needs to be maintained for over 10 years, the original technology will probably be obsolete. Digital Preservation must be a routine operation, not a special event.

RSA 2007: long-term data storage presents legal risks. Ian Grant. Computer Weekly. 23 Oct 2007.

Art Coviello, executive vice-president of EMC, stated at a conference that storing every piece of data long term may place organizations at risk of legal liability. The organization needs to know what data they have, who is looking at it and what they are doing with it. They should classify data and users before they store data. This is needed to protect the data and to reduce information clutter.

Keep 'Smoking Gun' E-Mails From Backfiring. H. Christopher Boehning, Daniel J. Toal. New York Law Journal. October 25, 2007

While this is written from a legal and not archival perspective, the article discusses the importance of validating / authenticating electronic documents. It lists the legal rules for authenticating emails and other electronic documents, including:

  • testimony by a witness with knowledge of the object;
  • circumstantial means ("appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances," such as the email address;
  • hash values that serve as a digital fingerprint; comparison to existing documents;
  • self authentication of items with labels, tags, or ownership marks.

The Aftermath: Examining the E-Discovery Landscape After the 2006 Rule Changes. Eric Sinrod. FindLaw. October 16, 2007.

Another article emphasizing the importance of records management plans for electronic data. It mentions that “Data can be located live on networks, servers, hard drives, laptops, PDAs and on backup tapes.” Purging according to retention policies is important. Data may be required in ‘native’ format with all metadata intact.

‘Digital curators’ lead cultural IT projects. Shane Schick. ComputerWorld Canada. 8 Nov 2007.

As cultural organizations try to reach new audiences online and integrate their collections into multimedia-friendly exhibits, they are starting to face the same challenges as others who have been moving away from paper-based processes. These challenges include not only figuring how to digitize content but what gets preserved first, what can wait and what doesn’t need to be digitized at all. Institutions face the difficulty of trying to preserve something indefinitely, without knowing how formats might change over time. They must collecting the right hardware and software along with the content itself. “Archives are now building in budgets for migration strategies for data.”

Friendly Advice Machine. John Cleese. Iron Mountain. October 2007.

On the lighter side: For those with an interest in digital archiving and secure storage, and a ‘British’ sense of humor, these clips may be of interest.

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