Volume 8 Number 5
Digital Preservation – A Long Journey
On April 25, I attended a Council on Library and Information Resources
(CLIR) workshop, "Institute on the State of Digital Preservation: An
International Perspective". I came away from the workshop with the
impression that the presenters believeas do Ithat research
involving digital preservation is extremely complex and presents enormous
problems, but it is important to make a start.
Internationally, a great number of digital preservation projects are
already underway. These projects face numerous, significant challenges,
not the least of which is obtaining adequate funding. This, in addition to
other factors, has encouraged the formation of partnerships among
institutions and organizations to share resources and knowledge.
Collaborative projects help leverage available funding as well as enable
the sharing of lessons learned.
One such collaboration involves the Library of Congress (LC): the National
Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). In
her presentation at the CLIR Institute, Laura Campbell, Director, National
Digital Library Program at LC, pointed out that, while there is broad
consensus on the urgency of the problem of how to preserve digital
materials, and agreement on the need for solutions to be distributed and
decentralized, there are still a number of unresolved issues, such as
legal issues (intellectual property rights, liability), scope (what to
preserve, by whom and at what level), balance between preservation and
access, and economic issues, among others.
Add a bewildering array of technical issues to these legal, social, and
economic challenges, mix in the difficulty of evaluating success without
access to time travel, and one could be forgiven for feeling a bit
overwhelmed The only solution to such a situation is the one that is now
underway, and that is to get started and to remember that even the
longest journey begins with a single step.
Copyright© 2002 Corporation for National Research Initiatives
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