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Digital Preservation as an Albatross

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‘Digital Preservation’ as a concept is an albatross. The complex and somewhat arcane nature of the practice has kept it from being embraced by those that perhaps need it most. Changes in terminology, misunderstandings of meanings and a lack of direct business planning have brought about a state of affairs that has the digital preservation community fighting the problem of technological obsolescence without sustained support from organisations that supposedly need it most.

Organisations care about ensuring their continued existence and profitability. Investment is only undertaken after reflection on business cases. In creating a business case most people focus primarily on cost, but there must be a counter-veiling focus on value. There is no point in making an investment unless it has worth to the investor. A good business case will display a strong understanding of the value of information objects that organisations create. Information professionals must ensure that their desire to ensure longevity of information is tied coherently and explicitly to that of the organisation's future and detail why the digital materials are of value to it. Exploring value in this way allows engagement with senior management as it wraps the need for action in the terminology of their strategic vision and allows for a strong and successful business case to be made.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • The IS&T (digital) Archiving Conference offers a unique opportunity for imaging scientists and those working in the cultural heritage community (curators, archivists, librarians, photographers etc) from around the world to come together to discuss the most pressing issues related to the digital preservation and stewardship of hardcopy, and other cultural heritage documents and objects. Authors come from museums, archives, libraries, government institutions, industry and academia. Cutting edge topics related to multispectral and 3D imaging, as well as best practices for workflow, sharing, standards, and asset/collection management and dissemination are explored in papers presented at this annual, international event.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in pertuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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