What is Digital Preservation?


At the most basic level, digital preservation refers to the conservation of important objects, artifacts, and documents that exist in digital form. As technology continues to rapidly evolve and new software is propelled into mainstream use nearly every day, continued innovation leads to planned obsolescence for hardware and software, all too often rendering content created with older versions unusable. Universities have vast amounts of electronic media in their collections, and each item of digital content represents a unique challenge from a conservation standpoint. While museums have long employed art historians with specialties in artifact preservation, but to university libraries, it is often a challenge to find professionals who understand preservation from a computer science perspective. Just like ancient objects, digital objects can be fragile and require special care, and the growing dependence on changing technologies puts these digital items at great risk. As universities, libraries, and other organizations start to support and develop processes and resources for digital preservation, a new science and toolset is emerging to support and inform the work.


INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 1, 2013Just from a practical sense, schools have data and information stored on media that may no longer easily be able to be read, even just to copy to a newer format (i.e. Zip disks). The ability of a PreK student to build their portfolio for the next 13 years will mean that school districts will have to pay careful attention to making sure to archive the work and move it along through whatever new storage types come up.
  • Absolutely an aspects that need attention, but not many schools in my part of the world are aware of the problems. Probably a general awareness will bring it to the consciousness of the school sector. - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Mar 3, 2013
  • Digital preservation affects format shifting as well as born digital objects. Schools in general have not touched the tip of the iceberg on this one. Understanding the curation lifecycle is a priority and connects the links between curation and digital preservation
    http://judyoconnell.com/2011/08/08/social-content-curation-a-shift-from-the-traditional/ - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 5, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?


(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 1, 2013The technologies move fast. Schools should be actively polling their teachers and helping them move info from microfiche/film, Zip disk, floppies, and other external devices that have older computer connections. Things of importance to districts, teachers, and schools really need to be protected.
  • Digital preservation ensures that the creative, cultural, historical record is accurate and available to inspire future generations as needed. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 5, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project form.