Hayley Kilmurry: ‘Digital Preservation: What I Know Now’.
Hayley Kilmurry’s article reports on a Digital Preservation Coalition event called ‘What I wish I knew before I started’, where a group of leading practitioners and archivists, records managers, and librarians discussed the challenges of keeping digital collections. Having just started the Introduction to Digital Curation Module at UCL, I find this area of practise and thought really interesting, and I’m eager to learn more about it. I’m still getting used to the jargon and technical terms used in digital curation, so this article is a really great place to start in understanding the need for multiple copies, bit preservation, and the audit and inventory of digital content.
Included in this article is a short YouTube video, ‘How toy Story 2 Almost Got Deleted: Stories from Pixar Animation’, a real life example why processes need to be in place to ensure the safeguarding and preservation of digital content. Spoiler Alert! For those who don’t know, Toy Story 2 was deleted completely, and the film was only saved from being completely deleted and having to be remade because an employee who was working on the film from home had a copy of it on her personal computer. You can view the film here.
Backing up digital content, ensuring that more than one copy of digital material is kept, and ensuring the long-term preservation of material is really important, and for people who are new to digital preservation, I think this article is a good starting point for understanding its importance.
Dominic Johnstone suggests that all the signs point to digital preservation becoming a ‘hot topic’ in 2017, as businesses are staring to realise that the potential obsolescence of the format on which they store their digital information is something to worry about.
“The reality is that any digital content older than ten years old is massively at risk”
Johnstone states that ‘The reality is that any digital content older than ten years old is massively at risk’. It’s a scary reminder of the fragility of digital content. And whilst this could be seen as scare-mongering, really, long-term digital preservation is something that everyone needs to be thinking of, not just those in information management. Anyone who personally manages information (personal documents on their computer, digital images, home movies), needs to be thinking about the best long-term method to preserve their information.
Jacqueline Moon, ‘Eight million photographs: where to begin?’
Whilst this blog doesn’t consider digital preservation, it does consider the long-term preservation of physical materials.
Photographs are prone to degradation over time, and different types of photographic materials degrade in different ways at different times. Jacqueline Moon’s blog discusses the need to understand different photographic processes in order to understand the best way to conserve the different photographic materials, and therefore preserve the information held within over a long time. Moon explains the work that the collection care team does at The National Archives (UK),the conservation treatments and scientific techniques that they implement.
When I worked as an Archive Assistant at the Heritage Motor Centre (now the British Motor Museum), I made several trips to the conservators, taking damaged films and negatives to be conserved, and bringing back material that had received conservation treatment. It is so important to have a conservation plan in place in an archive, otherwise material that is damage can be lost forever.
Header image from Marketing Land.
Johnstone, Dominic, ‘Why long-term digital preservation tops the list of hottest topics for information management in 2017’, IT Pro Portal, (January 2017), <http://www.itproportal.com/features/why-long-term-digital-preservation-tops-the-list-of-hottest-topics-for-information-management-in-2017/> [last accessed 20 January 2017]
Kilmurry, Hayley, ‘Digital Preservation: What I Know Now’, Genus IT (February 2015) <http://www.genusit.com/digital-preservation-what-i-know-now/> [last accessed 20 January 2017].
Moon, Jacqueline, ‘Eight million photographs: where to begin?’, The National Archives (October 2016) <http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/eight-million-photographs-begin/> [last accessed 20 January 2017].