The Irish Film Archive has published a new Digital Preservation & Access Strategy that addresses archiving vast quantities of moving image material in a digital environment. “This crucial document ... outlines a long-term plan and a set of guiding principles, flexibility, scalability and sustainability, which will assist us in preserving and providing access to Ireland’s digital moving image material.”
In order to fully achieve its mission, the organization must be able to preserve and make available the digital collections in its care, by doing the following items:
- Publish a comprehensive Digital Preservation and Access Strategy document.
- Upgrade the Archive’s technology and equipment to facilitate digital activities.
- Develop policies and procedures to support the digital strategy and asset management
- Develop a trusted digital repository
- Increase access to the collections
- Secure funding to ensure digital preservation and access are supported and sustainable.
- Develop specialist digital management and preservation skills
- Develop the Archive’s existing database to allow the recording necessary metadata
- Follow international examples of best practice
- Create and maintain on-going partnerships
The digital strategies and solutions must ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness by being flexible, scalable, and sustainable. The Digital Preservation and Access Strategy must consider the short-, medium-and long-term needs of the organization in safeguarding and sharing digital collections. The risks and challenges they face include:
- Technical obsolescence
- Lack of Standards
- Expense: Creating and maintaining the infrastructure, equipment and trained people will be an ongoing, costly and resource-heavy activity, but it is vital to ensure the availability of digital collections to future generations. An efficient digital preservation strategy "cannot be achieved with sporadic investment, but must be supported by regular and predictable funding"
The document also describes benefits, opportunities, stakeholders and strategic priorities. The strategic objectives include:
- To maintain the Archive to the highest international standards
- To improve resources within the Archive
- To improve access to the collections
- To heighten awareness of the collections for current and future generations
Digital Preservation & Access Strategy Document will be an essential tool in helping the organization become a Digital Archive that meets internationally recognized standards of excellence. This will be a living document and will reviewed regularly to ensure it still meets the strategic objectives. It will take into account any changes in access or preservation technology, policies, and budget changes. The document will also be supplemented by additional policies over time.