Digital preservation planning

Digital continuity is about ensuring your agency’s digital information is managed well so that it can be accessed and used over time. One important aspect of digital continuity is digital preservation.

Digital preservation requires a proactive program to identify records at risk and take necessary action to ensure their ongoing viability.

Many records have retention periods longer than the life of the systems they are captured in. A preservation strategy should address the ever-present problem of technological obsolescence.

Preservation techniques which can minimise the risk of digital records becoming inaccessible include:

  • migrating digital records from older hardware and software to current configurations; and
  • converting digital records from their original data format to a standardised, long term preservation format. Each technique has advantages and disadvantages.

Which preservation strategy will work best for your agency will depend upon several factors including:

  • the technology you currently have, and are likely to acquire in the near future;
  • the most financially feasible option, based on a risk analysis and taking into account your agency's accountability obligations; and
  • the long term implications for the integrity of your records of any preservation processes adopted.

Further information

Preservation is just one aspect of managing digital information to ensure that it can be used in the way that is required for as long as required, and no longer. For more information on managing digital records, see our Digital Continuity Principles.

Contact the Agency Service Centre.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017