The movie Night at the Museum is a fun way to picture artifacts being preserved for future generations. Just as we preserve these artifacts of societies long past and our current societal relics, we must also be about the business of preserving our digital information. Take a minute to think about how creating information has changed over the last 30 years, not that long of a time period. I can remember at my first job that when I wanted to have a document created, I either wrote the document in long hand or dictated the document into a recorder and either the long hand document or the recording were taken off to a central word processing department where typists made it look "pretty" and like a "real" document. Fast forward a little and now I am my own typist trying to make my documents look professionally done and perfect. Not only do I have to worry about the content but the visual appearance of the document. We also used to wait with anticipation for magazines to come out to give us the latest details about the industry from noted experts, now we are the experts and sharing our knowledge wherever we like to "live" online whether it is a blog, Twitter, an online community and, yes, Facebook and LinkedIn.
All of this digital content still needs to be preserved whether it is considered as traditional ERM content or what some may consider 'peripheral' content from a social media environment. Like with email, it's the content that is important and not the container or location of the content. There are many standards available to help you and your organization to properly preserve your digital information. Standards is not a bad word but is a document that you can place your trust in because they are developed by groups of experts who make decisions as to the appropriate requirements to be included in the standard. They are documents that are established by consensus and approved by recognized bodies that have rigorous approval processes and provide common and repeatable rules, guidelines or characteristics.
Standards are made available so that you do not need to recreate the wheel, if there is a standard, it is best to use it. There are more important things to be done than to reinvent processes.
The following are a few of the standards you should be aware of that will help you to preserve information:
ISO 14721, Space data and information transfer systems – Open archival information systems – Reference model (OAIS) which is a digital standard freely available on the web and as an ISO standard. It presents a set of theoretical models that represent many aspects of digital preservation from representation of information through metadata to functions and processes that are needed in digital preservation.
ISO 15489, Information and documentation – Records management is a two part standard often referred to as the "Records Management Bible" that standardizes the best practices for records management. It uses an Australian Standard, AS4390 as its basis to provide guidance on managing records of original documents.
ISO/TR 18492, Long-term preservation of electronic document-based information provides practical methodological guidance for the long-term preservation and retrieval of authentic electronic document based information taking into consideration the role of technology neutral information technology standards that support long-term access to information.
ISO 19005, Document management – Electronic document file format for long-term preservation which is a three part standard specifying a file format based on PDF, Portable Document Format, that is technology neutral. Two of the three parts have been published. The third part that will be published soon will allow for files to be embedded in the PDF/A file without the file losing its archival nature. This means you will be able to store the native file or XML within the PDF/A file.
These are just a fraction of the standards available to help you with your digital preservation. Each of them will help your organization to preserve your digital history by ensuring a better success rate with digital preservation and will help to reduce your risks because of the best practices they offer.
Instead of a Night at the Museum, I wonder what it would be like at a Night at the Digital Archives. Imagine all the bits and bytes coming to life and surrounding you. It may be more of a nightmare unless we embrace and use some of the industry standards that are available!
For more information about standards, http://www.aiim.org/standards.#ElectronicRecordsManagement #ERM #archiving #Standards #DigitalPreservation