The purpose of this paper is to investigate the awareness about digital preservation and what must be done towards preserving valuable original digital material. The paper also aims to discuss the use of metadata principles and the implementation of tools for the preservation of documents stored on personal computers.
Data loss prevention starts with the creation of a digital object. However, methods to minimize the loss of digital data are often ignored, the use of metadata structures embedded in digital objects from the outset thereof are recommended as a starting point towards good preservation principles. The need to create awareness on the issue of digital preservation was promoted by the authors at various occasions during 2008, as the number of incidents of data loss and costs involved continue to be of concern to all involved. Whether the loss occurs by a malicious attempt, or an inadvertent mistake, it can be diminishing either personally or to the institute/company where it occurs. Data were collected through a digital questionnaire and literature studies were done on several strategies, policies and best practices. Personal visits to libraries actively working on digital preservation and curation formed a basis for conducting the study. The implementation of tools that can be used to preserve and retrieve digital content by individuals was also investigated.
Digital objects should be archived with metadata about the object and the creation thereof. Metadata need not necessarily be structured and controlled when used by individuals or small groups for preservation of self owned data. The metadata content, however, should describe the object, the method of creation and technologies used in the creation. All changes to the document should be captured in the preservation metadata. Future access to digital content does not only depend on one preservation method but on a sequence of strategies and methods applied to the digital content.
The paper provides a broad overview of certain aspects that must be considered when implementing digital preservation strategies. The value of metadata needs to be widely accepted and implemented and the use thereof promoted to creators of personal digital objects.
Groenewald, R. and Breytenbach, A. (2011), "The use of metadata and preservation methods for continuous access to digital data", The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 236-248. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640471111125195Download as .RIS
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