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.

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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?

  • Perhaps we should be developing a way for students today to save their work in formats that will be long-enduring and accessible many year down the road. It is the new "portfolio folder" and replaces the box in the attic. - jean.tower jean.tower Feb 23, 2012 - roger.blamire roger.blamire Mar 4, 2012
  • Issues of authenticity, the transience of the original item, context, formats, storage media, standards and so on, all impact upon the preservation equation, as well as the sheer volume of material being produced. The question of priorities for digital preservation has to be revisited and woven into the overall managment and curation of learning materials and creative outputs. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 3, 2012

(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?

  • Media obscelesence is a critical consideration for schools. This applies to both equipment, storage, and cloud-based services. Ensuring that materials and creativity are preserved for both short term and long term needs. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 3, 2012
  • Successful digital preservation in any organisation requires a mix of technical, managerial and cultural understanding in order to develop policies, procedures and systems that will ensure that the best use is made of the organisation's scarce resources to achieve its digital preservation goals. Schools can make a major contribution to the development of local historical and cultural resources both within the school and in the broader community. Developing an understanding and policy as part of the core organisation of schools has become an important issue and will change how schools prioritise the importance of students creative outputs. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 3, 2012

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

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.