Search   |   Back Issues   |   Author Index   |   Title Index   |   Contents



D-Lib Magazine
November 2004

Volume 10 Number 11

ISSN 1082-9873

Digital Records Management and Preservation

Much of the dialog on and research in digital preservation over the past decade or so has focused, properly, on the difficult technical problems involved in packaging and otherwise managing digital material such that it can survive the passage of time and changing computational environments. But, as the digital library world has increasingly come to realize over the years, technical solutions are only one aspect of the whole solution. In preservation this is particularly well brought out in addressing the problem of records management.

D-Lib Magazine itself can serve as an illustration. Terminology is still somewhat fluid in this area, but let us refer to the parts of D-Lib that are public as digital resources, e.g., current and back issues, author and title indexes, author guidelines, the magazine's privacy policy, D-Lib's access terms and conditions statement, and so on. These have all been deemed worthy of publication and so the issue of preserving them seems largely to be a technical issue. The question of whether they are worth preservation has already been answered. But there is a great deal of digital material associated with D-Lib that is never seen by the public, either because it is confidential to the parties involved or because it is assumed to be of no interest to the D-Lib readership. These include author correspondence, staff correspondence, draft versions of final articles, web logs, etc. These are the internal records of D-Lib as an activity, and deciding which of those to keep is the challenge of record keeping. The fact that digital data can be highly ephemeral, if not managed properly, makes the role of policy development in digital record keeping all the more pressing.

In the Clips and Pointers column of this issue of D-Lib Magazine, links are provided that lead to the Australian government web site and two draft documents on effective digital record keeping and preservation. Government agencies in other countries as well as other public and private organizations are also grappling with these issues, and D-Lib Magazine will point its readers to additional publications and news on these issues as they become available.

Bonita Wilson

Copyright© 2004 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Letters | First Article
Home | E-mail the Editor