September 30, 2004

Archiving in the Digital World [1:28 pm]

Little on the technical issues long term, though: Grants Will Preserve Paperless Bits of History [pdf]

THE Library of Congress is giving $15 million to eight institutions to preserve a range of electronic material, including Web sites relating to the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election, digital maps, sound recordings and decades’ worth of social science data.

[...] Myron P. Gutmann, a history professor at the University of Michigan and director of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the university’s Institute for Social Research, said much of this data has not been properly archived. It resides on the computers of individual researchers and research institutions, on Web sites, and even in storage boxes filled with punch cards.

“Without aggressive activities to locate and preserve it, it will disappear for good,” Dr. Gutmann said. “Our goal is to assure that the material remains accessible, complete, uncorrupted and usable over time.”

For the punch card data, that will mean converting it to an electronic form first.

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