The dangers of short-term thinking on digital information

We recently hosted a webinar with the Information Governance Initiative (IGI), to explore the risks to digital content and the dangers of short-term thinking when it comes to governing this type of information.

Joining Preservica commercial director, Mike Quinn, were three globally recognised expert speakers — Barclay T. Blair and Ann Snyder of the IGI and Jason Baron of Drinker, Biddle & Reath – who between them discussed the risk to records and what can be done to protect them.


Barclay and Ann discussed the findings of their Benchmark Research, The Governance of Long-Term Digital Information based on a survey of 400 Records and Information Management professionals across different industries. The research revealed that even though 98% had digital information that needed to be kept for longer than 10 years for statutory, regulatory and legal reasons, only 11% were taking action today to ensure their digital information would still be accessible and useable over the long-term by storing it in a purpose built digital preservation system. This is despite 97% being aware that these digital records are at risk due to file format and technology obsolescence.

In fact, 68% admitted to keeping valuable digital information on shared network drives, which are notoriously difficult to govern and do not provide protection for ensuring information can be read and used over the long-term.

To highlight the issue Jason Baron described his experience of driving the adoption of electronic records management within the US Government. Unique amongst government management is the number of records that are categorised as needing to be retained permanently. This includes information of national importance, and it was mandated by the Obama administration that all federal agency records be managed in electronic format by the end of 2019 — so a dramatic restructuring is currently underway.

All our speakers agreed, the barrier to adequate digital preservation exists not with the technology, but with businesses. At present, most organisations do not have a coherent strategy around these activities, and it is often unclear who is responsible or who should pay for them.

It’s for this reason that the webinar (and the IGI benchmark research) included case studies of organizations (such as HSBC, the Associated Press and the Texas State Archives) that have already taken action to protect valuable long-term digital records.

We were inundated with questions at the end of our webinar, so we hope that for our attendees, we managed to shed some light on how and why to get started with digital preservation.

You can view a recording of the Webinar here: The Dangers of Short Term Thinking on Digital Information

Posted by

David Portman

Marketing Manager

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