Monday, March 21, 2016

From digital dark age to digital enlightenment

From digital dark age to digital enlightenment.  Caroline Pegden. National Archives. 17 February 2016.
     Recent media reports have talked about the ‘digital Dark Age‘.  This is a major challenge, now and for the years to come for institutions in the archives sector, who are concerned with managing, preserving and providing access to born-digital records. This is important for the UK National Archives because some government departments will soon transfer born-digital records to The National Archives under the Public Records Act. As the National Archives has been working on how to do this, their philosophy has been ‘learning by doing’. They have reviewed what other archival institutions around the world are doing to manage digital records and have been testing the process of transfers "to design and test the new process to appraise, select, sensitivity review, transfer, preserve and give access to born-digital records." Two major challenges are:
  1. extracting meaning from unstructured digital record collections in order to make appraisal and selection decisions.
  2. sensitivity reviewing born-digital records at scale without having to read all the individual documents
Most government departments’ information is on unstructured shared drives; some departments had up to 190 terabytes of information in email servers.  Technology-assisted-review, a process using reviewers and a combination of computer software and tools to electronically classify records may have interesting applications for the archives sector. "Although there is no ‘silver bullet’ or completely automated solution, technology-assisted review offers ways to prioritise and reduce the information to be manually reviewed."  Two reports are available that highlight challenges and shows how technology-assisted review could help addressing some of these challenges. 
  1. The digital landscape in government 2014-15: business intelligence review
  2. The application of technology-assisted review to born-digital records transfer, Inquiries and beyond: research report

No comments: