What does long-term digital preservation mean?
There are several definitions of the concept of long-term digital preservation. The various definitions are often linked to the type of material. On the website of the LDP Centre (Centre for long-term digital preservation) there is a following definition (originally in Swedish): ”Long-term preservation: A time period longer than the lifetime of the system (hardware and software). Preservation in view of ‘the next generation.’ Today the average life span of digital systems is considered between three and seven years. ”
Is storage and preservation the same thing?
When it comes to digital preservation issues sometimes people use both concepts of preservation and storage. It also happens that ”long-term storage” of data is mentioned, which can be rather confusing. Storage as the term is meant for technical storage. The storage of digital information does not secure that future users can reach it, understand it and put together content. Storing a digital photography or a scanned image gives no guarantees that, for example, colour reproduction will be preserved for the future. For it requires, among other things, to add the relevant metadata. Digital information created through digitisation must be created in such a way to prevent from the future lost of data when format or storage media has to be changed.
Computer Catalog : Consolidated/Convair Aircraft Factory San Diego Equipment, San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive, 1950s. No known copyright restrictions.
Are there any services for digital preservation?
The EU project DC-Net has published a study on services for digital preservation: ”Digital preservation services: state of the art analysis” which is available as a pdf from the project website. The report is based on the analysis that provides an overview of 190 available tools and services that support digital preservation. DC-Net project has also published ”Service Priorities and best practices for digital cultural heritage”, which also can be downloaded as a pdf file from the project website. It points on the long-term digital preservation as the most important priority.