Digital Preservation, it’s a vexing issue, and one that I find a distinct lack of thought has been put into. Specifically not only the transformation of physical artifacts into digital, but also the preservation of digital only media. I feel the loss of materials entering the local archive from “the bottom drawer” is of real concern. Much of what would have been considered people’s personal papers that might have been cleaned from the desk and deposited are now kept virtually only. Where will people go to attempt to understand the minutiae, the little things that mean so much in the moment they are sent or received. Like love letters, congratulatory cards for engagements, or photos of those special moments in our life. So much are now kept in digital format only. Who keeps those little txts from our partners, which previously would have come in hardcopy? Sure this is an old issue, with many such ephemera being lost, but in this digital world the scope for loss is so much more.
How much easier is it to simply delete what could be potentially important historical artifacts? How many drafts, emails and letters are being lost to the development of the continuing historical repository through obsolescence of software? These are questions that need to be asked beyond the Archival and Information/Records Management professions.
I have previously blogged on this topic at Tararua Library and would like to repost some of the content here:
So what is happening out there in the digital preservation area?
In the transformation of physical media to digital media, the APN, as part of it’s third wave has introduced mechanism’s for local communities to establish Kete’s or localised digital repositories. This is great, and we at Tararua Library are looking to establish one here. Watch this space.
The other area is the preservation of digital media. The National Library recently did a project where they took a snapshotof what is on the Web from New Zealand. Which is good, but they haven’t finalised access, or even a mechanism for a continuing process. They also only grabbed websites with the .nz suffix in the url, and a few selected sites…
This begs the question as to who will archive and store shots of blogs like this. In theory I, or whoever looks after this blog later, can simply delete the lot and it will be lost. So who is responsible for this bit of social history in the making? Who is going to record or archive, say important National blogs like Public Address or Kiwiblog? Or who is going to archive local blogs like mine? Who is storing our emails, the bottom draw papers that used to end up in the local archives? Also how do we find them? What sites are out there who engage our local community? Or describe that local digital community?
Penny Carnaby the National Librarian is also interested in this and recently gave a speech called Delete Generation- citizen-created content, digital equity and the preservation of community memory which I regret not being able to attend.
Posted on behalf of Penny Carnaby, National Librarian/Chief Executive, National Library of New Zealand
Colleagues, I am giving a presentation to the IFLA conference in August and I’d really appreciate your help with it. Here’s a link to a post on the LibraryTechNZ blog with the transcript and video of a lecture I gave earlier this year, titled the “Delete Generation- citizen-created content, digital equity and the preservation of community memory”.
I’m looking to build on that presentation, to get wider views across the New Zealand Library sector on the areas I cover around the preservation and protection of digital assets, particularly in relation to communities and citizen-created content.
I’d love your help, so please have a look at the video or read the notes, and post your ideas, comments or views on the blog. It’ll all go towards my final presentation for IFLA.
Fortunately for me she has posted on a National Library blog a transcript and video of the talk. She is taking the speech over seas to IFLA and is seeking more input.
This is an area that needs leadership, and so I encourage you all to read, view and feedback.
Before it is too late.