Introduction to Digital Preservation
OverviewTeaching: 5 min
Exercises: 0 minQuestions
What is digital preservation and why should I care?Objectives
Understand the benefits of a digital preservation workflow.
Understand how to start utilizing digital preservation.
Digital preservation is the active management of digital content over time to ensure ongoing access
Digital Data by Randall Munroe, https://xkcd.com/
Digital preservation does NOT mean that everything should be digitized
Instead, digital preservation emphasizes the stewardship of born-digital and digitized objects throughout their lifecycle:
Digital Content Life Cycle by DigitalNZ, https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2012/02/life-cycle-models-for-digital-stewardship/
The three keys to creating long-term access to digital objects are:
- Maintaining discoverability
Preservation is a means to provide access for future generations
Obstacles to the preservation of digital objects:
- Degradation of object carrier e.g. vinegar syndrome in microfiche, time and storage conditions affecting hard drives
- Restoring to “original” vs. conserving to prevent deterioration e.g. “correcting” images of physical objects
- Format obsoletion e.g. floppy discs
- HTTP Error 404 : Web page not found e.g. webpages are not constant, URL’s are not stable points of access
Obstacles to curating digital objects:
- Lack of provenance e.g. lack of preservation metadata, “no one knows where this harddrive came from”, etc.
- Lack of organization e.g. born-digital objects have not been organized into collections or been given collection-level metadata, files have only non-specific file names, objects of the same collection were not digitized in the correct order or together, etc.
- Lack of description non-descript file names, no preservation or descriptive metadata attached to objects, “no one knows where this floppy disk came from or what’s on it”, etc.
Obstacles to maintaining digital object discoverability:
- Broken URL’s
- Lack of description i.e. descriptive metadata
- Lack of organization e.g. file structures, databases, etc.
- Lack of accessibility e.g. lack of access metadata, local copy only, paywall, IP-restricted access, ADA non-compliance, etc.
The goal of digital preservation is to provide long term accessibility to digitized and born-digital materials.
Digital preservation can be applied at every level.