Information Technology Challenges for Long-term Preservation of Electronic Information

Viveca Asproth


Information technology in combination with changes in organizational structures and methods of working has led to an increasing amount of information and also to totally new forms of information as well as in the creation of records. Furthermore the egovernment services, where the whole idea is to exchange information electronically, will speed up this development. A 10-year period is a long time when dealing with the preservation of electronic records. This is of course due to the rapid technological development, for example the problems associated with obsolete software and file formats. However, since archives are records of permanent and enduring value, it is essential that methods must be developed to ensure that digital records can be preserved for a much longer time. Archival practice has for a long time been intertwined with information technology, dealing with the production, organization, storage, dissemination, and retrieval of records, using the available technology. This implies that the responsibility for research and development should lie upon researchers from both these domains in collaboration. In this paper some problem domains of long-term preservation and how ongoing research matches these domains is presented. It appears clear that although much of the challenges associated with digital preservation is strategic, organizational, and structural and not only technical, the research mainly concentrates on solving the technical issues.

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