Saturday, December 31, 2016

Managing the preservation and accessibility of public records from the past into the digital future

Managing the preservation and accessibility of public records from the past into the digital future.  Dean Koh. Open Gov.  30 November 2016.
     A post about the Public Record Office of the State Archives of Victoria. They have many paper records but now also a lot of born digital records governments, so the archives is a hybrid paper and digital archives. For accessibility purposes, paper records are digitised to provide online access. The Public Record Office also sets records management standards for government agencies across Victoria. "In the digital environment, there is not a lot of difference between records and information so that means we set standards in the area of information management as well." Access to records is a major focus, including equity of access in a digitally focused age.

"There’s a lot to access that isn’t necessarily ‘just digitise something’, there’s a lot of work to be done in addition to just digitising them. There’s capturing metadata about the digital images because again, if I just take photographs of a whole lot of things and send you the files, that’s not very accessible, you have to open each one and look at it in order to find the one that you want. So we have to capture metadata about each of the images in order to make them accessible so a lot of thinking and work goes into that."

Another issue around records, particularly born digital records, is the different formats used to create records in government. There are a "whole bunch of different technologies" used to create born digital records and the archives is trying to manage the formats and the records so that they "continue to remain accessible into the far future. So 50 years, a 100 years, 200 years, they still need to be accessible because those records are of enduring value to people of Victoria. So that’s a format issue and a format obsolescence issue."

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