Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sustainable economics for a digital planet: ensuring long term access to digital information

The final report of Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access was released recently. http://brtf.sdsc.edu/biblio/BRTF_Final_Report.pdf (PDF; 120 p.)

From the preface, p. 7:

"If there is one finding that perhaps merits special attention, it is that sustainable economics for digital preservation is not just about finding more funds. It is about building an economic activity firmly rooted in a compelling value proposition, clear incentives to act, and well-defined preservation roles and responsibilities. Lacking these ingredients, digital preservation efforts—and the materials in their care—have little prospect of persisting over time; with them, our digital heritage will have a sound economic foundation for the future."

Some key points.

1. the scale of digital creation is far outpacing the capacity to store the data (by 2012 there will be 2.5 million petrabytes of data and just over 1 million petrabytes of storage.

2. 3 critical questions:

What digital information should we preserve?
Who will preserve it?
Who will pay for it?

3. 4 information types considered

scholarly discourse
research data
commercially owned cultural content
collectively created Web content

4. difference between traditional preservation and digital preservation

In contrast to traditional preservation, digital preservation is a dynamic process with multiple actions taken over the course of the digital lifecycle.