Digital preservation

An ever increasing proportion of the information we produce is created and stored in a digital form. However, preserving digital information so that it can be accessed in the future presents many challenges. Not only may the storage medium physically deteriorate, but the software or hardware used to store the data may become obsolete. For example, while the original Domesday Book from 1086 is still preserved in a readable condition, the "laser discs" that contained the BBC's 1986 Domesday project became unreadable within 15 years, and have only recently been "rescued". There is increasing awareness of the need for appropriate strategies to preserve electronic information over the long term, both that which is "born digital" and that which is digitised later in its life, such as historical records. This POSTnote will provide MPs and Peers with an overview of the technological and policy challenges associated with digital preservation. For further information on this project, or to contribute, please contact Dr Chandrika Nath.