The History and Current State of Digital Preservation in the United States
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Hirtle, Peter B.
The world of information is becoming ever more digital. While advances in information technology have undeniable advantages, they also pose significant threats to the long-term accessibility of information. Digital information is not durable. The goal of digital preservation is to maintain the ability to display, retrieve, and use digital collections in the face of rapidly changing technological and organizational infrastructures and elements. For over a decade now, a small group of librarians, archivists, publishers, and technologists have been trying to address how best to ensure that the digital information of today is still accessible to the future. This paper will survey some of the efforts that are underway in North America to understand how best to preserve digital information. Major investigations into the issues of digital preservation are currently underway at the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, in a number of university-based research projects, at the national bibliographic utilities, and at some technical laboratories. A number of different technical solutions are being explored, and it is likely that the best digital preservation solutions will use a combination of technical approaches. Studies have revealed that the biggest impediments to digital preservation are not primarily technical. Even more important are issues of ownership, economics, and organization.
Chapter 7 of 8.
CIP (CU Library Iniatives in Publishing)
Previously Published As
Metadata and Digital Collections: A Festschrift in Honor of Tom Turner; Ithaca, NY; CIP (CU Library Iniatives in Publishing); 2008; 121-140.
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