Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Keeping the bits

Keeping the bits. Chris Erickson. August 11, 2015.
     Some time ago I wrote a paper about my view of preservation titled the "Three Pillars of Digital Preservation". The first and most important of the three pillars was 'keeping the bits'. If you don't have the bits, you are out of luck. If you do have the bits, there is a good chance you can find ways to access them and understand them.

For many, including the preservation world, it seems archiving equates with storing content on the cloud for 5 or 10 years, or making lots of copies that when neglected become lots of confusion. We (consumers,  society, preservationists,  everyone.) store our permanent records on temporary media, or we put them in the cloud on someone else's temporary media. Preservation seems to be aimed at processes attempting to avoid or manage the effects of the problem instead of solving the problem itself.

We should be advocating for permanent solutions for storage,  for formats, for file management and for access.  There are a number of groups working on permanent storage solutions; some are available now, but unless we choose to use them or make them a priority, the technology may never be used, edged out by cheaper 'solutions'. Nothing will ever be permanent until we choose that as our standard.

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