|Technology and the
“electronic revolution” has a substantial impact
on the way governments conduct business and present challenges
for capturing, preserving, managing, storing and making accessible
Significant amounts of critical electronic data have already
been lost. As government records are increasingly generated
and stored in computer-based information systems, the state
faces the challenge of managing and preserving these digital
documents. Many are critical to the survival of Indiana's
history and culture, captured in the day-to-day business of
Long-term preservation of electronic records is difficult
due to the rapid pace of change in technology. It is estimated
that every two years computing power and storage density doubles.
As this happens, the technology “evolves” often
into something no longer compatible with older generations
of hardware and software (remember 5-inch floppies?).
To compound this generation gap, older software, almost
always proprietary, is often no longer supported by the original
company, if it is even still in business! Additionally, the
media on which the electronic record is written (hard drive,
CD, floppy disc, punch cards, tape, etc.) decays with time.
Eventually the media itself must be replaced.
In order to maintain electronic records for the long term,
one must either:
The digital archives has chosen to do both. Original files
will be offloaded to tape and protected to prevent alteration,
while an open file format version will be presented on the
web for future use.
- preserve the original hardware, software and media or
- convert the electronic record to an open file format and
continually migrate the media to the “latest and greatest”