Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Digital Preservation too $$$$

Those who are creating plans for preserving their digital assets should read Jonas Palm’s The Digital Black Hole Jonas is the head of the Department of Preservation for Sweden’s National Archives where they have already done considerable conversion to digital. Interestingly, the breaking point of cost, as he describes it, is the human factor - salaries -required in monitoring digital storage. From the sense of preserving one’s investment in digitizing it does seem that the preservation cost far exceed replacement costs. Especially as, replacing a corrupted digital file in five years will probably cost less and result in a better image due to technological advances. It may very well be more cost effective to rescan the objects as or if their digital image files become unusable. Of course, that assumes that the object still exists.

So if we accept the fragility of the actual artifact and fragility of the digital image of it, how do we preserve the visual information of the object? Jonas is suggesting… drum roll please…microfilm. But then, we know that does last forever either and also costs to maintain, but even so maybe the system that we have now is better for now?
Of course, there are still the digital born material and Jonas allows as how audio-video material may be cost effective…..
what is one to do? Any ideas?

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