Reflections on Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation was the main subject of this week’s reading, with both its worth as a method of preservation and its implementation under review. The impression I got was that there was some hesitation about relying on digital preservation too much. The British Library in particular seems to regard methods such as microfilm to be more reliable for long term preservation. I find this understandable given Strategies mentioned included a hybridization of the two, with digital material existing alongside microfilm. Implementation Issues included complex vocabulary users were required to know and the training needed to manage the strategy, possibly requiring the addition of extra staff. I guess for staff not technically inclined the strategy could be arduous to learn and use. I do think the advantages of Digital Preservation make up for any short comings. The ease of accessibility and dissemination it grants alone is a tremendous boon to researchers and students. It also allows for easy comparison between materials.

The Codex Sinaticus project is an interesting example of a digitization project, involving the unification of disparate elements of an ancient manuscript into one virtual document. The original portions of the manuscript can be found in various countries around the world, so previously seeing them all would be very difficult. This project allows all available parts of the document to be examined together. The scope of the project was the main thing which impressed me, extending across the many projects as it did. It may be the largest collaborative project I’ve examined, involving countries like Egypt, Russia, Germany and England. There is a strong interdisciplinary component of the project. Interdisciplinary studies and collaboration with other fields seem to be a recurring theme in this course, particularly with regard to the information science aspect.

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