Ensuring long-term access to digital information

In the website reviews published in this blog, the  answer to the “Permanence/Archiving” question is very often unclear at best. That’s why the final report published by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access, entitled Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet. Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information, is very timely. It is available online. There is a good review in ScienceDaily:

“Addressing one of the most urgent societal challenges of the Information Age — ensuring that valued digital information will be accessible not just today, but in the future — requires solutions that are at least as much economic and social as technical, …” “‘It’s about creating a ‘data economy’ in which those who care, those who will pay, and those who preserve are working in coordination.’ The challenge in preserving valuable digital information — consisting of text, video, images, music, sensor data, etc. generated throughout all areas of our society — is real and growing at an exponential pace. A recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that a total of 3,892,179,868,480,350,000,000 (that’s roughly 3.9 trillion times a trillion) new digital information bits were created in 2008. In the future, the digital universe is expected to double in size every 18 months, …”

“The report categorizes the economics of digital preservation into three ‘necessary conditions’ closely aligned with the needs of stakeholders: recognizing the value of data and selecting materials for longer-term preservation; providing incentives for decision makers to preserve data directly or provide preservation services for others; and articulating the roles and responsibilities among those involved in the preservation process. The report further aligns those conditions with the basic economic principle of supply and demand, and warns that without well-articulated demand for access to preserved digital assets, there will be no supply of preservation services.”

BRTFSDPA final report

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