However, digital information is fragile in ways that differ from traditional technologies, such as paper or microfilm. It is more easily corrupted or altered without recognition. Digital storage media have shorter life spans, and digital information requires access technologies that are changing at an ever-increasing pace.
Some types of information, such as multimedia, are so closely linked to the software and hardware technologies that they cannot be used outside these proprietary environments [ ]. Because of the speed of technological advances, the time frame in which we must consider archiving becomes much shorter.
The time between manufacture and preservation is shrinking. While there are traditions of stewardship and best practices that have become institutionalized in the print environment, many of these traditions are inadequate, inappropriate or not well known among the stakeholders in the digital environment.
Originators are able to bypass the traditional publishing, dissemination, and announcement processes that are part of the traditional path from creation to archiving and preservation. Groups and individuals who did not previously consider themselves to be archivists are now being drawn into the role, either because of the infrastructure and intellectual property issues involved or because user groups are demanding it.
Librarians and archivists who traditionally managed the life cycle of print information from creation to long-term preservation and archiving must now look to information managers from the computer-science tradition to support the development of a system of stewardship in the new digital environment.
There is a need to identify new best practices that satisfy the requirements and are practical for the various stakeholder groups involved. In an effort to advance the state of the art and practice of digital archiving, the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information ICSTIa community of scientific and technical information organizations that includes national libraries, research institutes, publishers, and bibliographic database producers, sponsored a study in March [Hodge ].
This study is the most recent in a series of efforts on the part of ICSTI to highlight the importance of digital archiving. The Electronic Publications Archive Working Group presented a white paper of the major issues in December [ ]. Based on common interest in this topic, [CENDI], an interagency working group of scientific and technical information managers in the U.
The project managers from the cutting-edge projects emphasized the importance of considering best practices for archiving at all stages of the information management life cycle.
Creation is the act of producing the information product. The producer may be a human author or originator, or a piece of equipment such as a sensing device, satellite, or laboratory instrument.
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Creation is viewed here in the broadest sense, as science is based increasingly on a variety of data types, products, and originators. All project managers acknowledged that creation is where long-term archiving and preservation must start.
Even in rigorously controlled situations, the digital information may be lost without the initial awareness on the part of the originator of the importance of archiving. Practices used when a digital object is created ultimately impact the ease with which the object can be digitally archived and preserved In addition, there are several key practices involving the creator that are evolving within the archiving projects.
First, the creator may be involved in assessing the long-term value of the information.
Secondly, the preservation and archiving process is made more efficient when attention is paid to issues of consistency, format, standardization, and metadata description in the very beginning of the information life cycle.
Limits are placed on both the software that can be used and on the format and layout of the documents in order to make short and long-term information management easier. However, only in the case of data objects is the metadata routinely collected at the point of creation.
Many of the datasets are created by measurement or monitoring instruments, and the metadata is supplied along with the data stream. This metadata may include location, instrument type, and other quality indicators concerning the context of the measurement.
In some cases, this instrument-generated metadata is supplemented by information provided by the original researcher. For smaller datasets and other objects such as documents and images, much of the metadata continues to be created by hand and after the fact. Metadata creation is not sufficiently incorporated into the tools for the creation of these objects to rely solely on the creation process.
As standards groups and vendors move to incorporate XML eXtensible Mark-up Language and RDF Resource Description Framework architectures in their word-processing and database products, the creation of metadata as part of the origination of the object will be easier.
Acquisition and collection development is the stage in which the created object is "incorporated" physically or virtually into the archive.
The object must be known to the archive administration. There are two main aspects to the acquisition of digital objects, collection policies and gathering procedures. In most countries, the major difference in collection policies between formal print and electronic publications is the question of whether digital materials are included under current deposit legislation.
Guidelines help to establish the boundaries in such an unregulated situation. It is also the case that there is just too much material that could be archived from the Internet, so guidelines are needed to tailor the general collection practices of the organization.
The collection policies answer questions related to selecting what to archive, determining extent, archiving links, and refreshing site contents. Storage is often treated as a passive stage in the life cycle, but storage media and formats have changed, with legacy information perhaps lost forever.
Block sizes, tape sizes, tape drive mechanisms, and operating systems have changed over time.
Most organizations that responded to the question about the periodicity of media migration anticipate a three- to five-year cycle. The most common solution to this problem of changing storage media is migration to new storage systems.rutadeltambor.com is a platform for academics to share research papers.
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