Electronic Information and Digitization: Preservation and Security Challenges
Preservation, Security, and Digital Content
Carl Fleischhauer
Technical Coordinator, National Digital Library Program, Library of Congress

This talk will take a broad view of preservation and security and note some organizational implications. Formerly, preservation departments had not been thought of as adding intellectual value to the collection. But with digital reformatting, many organizations are motivated by the desire to expand access, and digital-content departments may be called upon to add intellectual value as well as to reproduce the original objects and preserve the digital results. Meanwhile, in parallel with developing new approaches to reformatting, many library departments with responsibility for digital content are also beginning to address the family of issues that pertain to born-digital materials.

The preservation of content in digital form begins with security. Although a necessary condition, computer-system security alone is not sufficient to preserve digital content. One must also consider the migration of content, emulation of the technical environment, and digital archeology. We seek to make or acquire "preservable objects," just as we seek to acquire books printed on acid-free paper. We may have to learn to tolerate transformations in objects as they are migrated, just as we tolerate the transformations represented in migrating a book from paper to microfilm. Preserving content will require operating a trustworthy networked information system, migrating content, and emulating systems, and may also require such actions as executing legal agreements to ensure the protection of content in the custody of other organizations.

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