Friday, June 14, 2013

Strategy for archiving digital records at the Danish National Archives

Strategy for archiving digital records at the Danish National Archives. Statens Arkiver. January 2013.
Their aim is to ensure the preservation of records that are of historical value, or that serve as documentation of significant administrative matters or legal importance for citizens and
authorities. The vision is to ensure that digital records are preserved so as to maintain their authenticity, and so that they can be found and reused. Preserving digital information for the long term, in a form that makes it reusable, requires some deliberate choices to be made in terms of methods, technologies and documentation. Digital preservation must also take economic considerations into account.

The basic strategy choice faced by preservation institutions is whether to pursue an emulation strategy or a migration strategy. This will determine how digital preservation in the institution is organised. The Danish National Archives have chosen  a migration strategy which requires that the Archives to migrate digital records to a few, well-defined standard formats, and from time to time, be migrated to new formats and structures.

The Danish National Archives’ strategy must not be dependent on continuous access to the system
in which the data was originally created. It must be possible to interpret and re-use data in other systems. The term “original” cannot be applied in the same way to digital records. Whether data
is extracted from tables in a database or digital documents, a representation of the content is preserved in the preservation format. A digital archive primarily preserves data or information. The key aspect is the preservation of authentic information. The implementation of the strategy requires
  1. Early identification and approval of systems for submission purposes
  2. Frequent submission in non-system dependent format
  3. Ongoing planning of preservation and periodical migration to a new preservation format
The Archives uses distributed digital preservation by keeping several identical copies on several different types of media, both optical and magnetic, at several different geographical locations. The Archives also conducts ongoing preservation planning and continuously adjusts the
implementation of its strategy so that the vision remains attainable and within its reach.

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