What is Digital Archiving?
Digital archiving is a repository of digital material that a company or person desires to keep for a longer period of time. It stores collections of digital information such as documents, video, pictures, etc in a digital format with the intention of providing long-term access to the information. A digital archive can be an elaborate collection with a multi-tiered storage system or located on a hard drive.
According to the University of Edinburgh, their archive is for the long-term preservation of appropriate materials based on their “evidential, legal, contextual or information value” to keep the University’s memory. Similarly, corporations, businesses and people may wish to keep similar archives to safe guard corporate or personal memory.
This Library of Congress post also breaks down the different things people think of when they think of an archive.
Considerations for Digital Archiving
Digital archiving seems like it would be a one and done undertaking. However, there are different things to consider when storying memories and items you have determined should be kept for archival purposes.
- Obsolescence: With advances in technology, storage media comes and goes. Remember floppy disks? Updating your digital archive is an important part of your digital archive policy.
- Metadata: This is a critical component when digital archiving. Without it, or enough of it, you will have trouble finding the data you want when you try to retrieve it.
- Defining what is appropriate for a digital archive.
- Corruption of information.
- Loss of information (the hard drive, SD card, etc.).
- Authenticity and integrity of data.
- In-house or outsource?
- Security and access
The Digital Preservation Coalition has put together a handbook for those who are interested in getting serious about their digital archiving efforts. The handbook breaks down why digital archiving matters, threats to digital materials, different things to consider when putting together your digital archiving plan and policy.
Benefits of Digital Archiving
Archiving has been a key component for businesses and people for thousands of years. Libraries and museums exist to retain the archives and memories of our species and man’s greatest accomplishments. Businesses have long kept archives for a variety of reasons, to remember one project or campaign to the next; to remember what went wrong and right; to remember important company milestones; and to remember important contributions to society or the community in which the business is located.
However, archives can become overwhelmingly large. The main key benefit of digital archiving is storage space. It takes less space to store paper or microfilm than it does to store materials on hard drives, a CD, flash drive or SD card. Some are now using offsite data storage.
Another benefit to digitizing your archives is that it makes locating information easier. You don’t have to take time going through old files boxes hoping to locate the correct one quickly. Multiple people can access the same information at the same time. If you have a large company or multiple locations, it makes the storage of data or libraries easier to access for employees.
Preventing of loss of data is easier with digital archives since they can be backed up. Loss of archives is a risk for both traditional (paper, etc) and digital. With digital, creating backups which can also be stored in different locations is more cost-effective than creating paper copies and storing at a different location.
Converting Items for a Digital Archive
When it comes to converting your information, your choices are to either do it in-house or outsource it. If you have the staff and infrastructure to do it in-house already, it may be the least expensive way to go.
However, if you don’t already have a digital archive in place, or would rather have your employees or yourself focus on key business functions, outsourcing may be cheaper in the long run if you account for what your, and your employees time, is worth.
Digital Archiving with Falcon
Our experts at Falcon can help your business create a digital archiving plan and policy as well as convert all of your paper copies into digital, searchable files. Our technicians have a long history of expertise helping companies convert files to digital while insuring all of the relevant data is kept secure and easily searchable with the right metadata. Even if you have no idea where to start with your policy or planning, we can recommend solutions and help walk you through the process.
Give one of our experts a call at either our Fort Worth location at 817-870-0330 or our Dallas location at 214-420-0030.