Our Disappearing Content: Why Digital Preservation Matters

Laurence Hart, director at TeraThink, discusses digital preservation and why it’s not just historical archives that need to protect content over the long term (10+ years)

I recently returned from the 2018 AIIM Conference in San Antonio. While there, I visited the Alamo. An old Spanish mission constructed in the 1700s, the Alamo was the scene of several battles including a famous last stand that didn’t end well for the defenders. Almost two centuries later, you can visit the site, which sits in the middle of the city, and view a lot of artifacts. What you don’t get however, is a full sense of the battle. The Alamo is missing some of its original outer walls and its artillery placements, and it now has a roof — which didn’t exist during its infamous battles.

Preservation of another type came up in discussions at the AIIM conference: digital preservation. Whether you need to preserve information for business or historical reasons, long-term digital preservation is an issue that eventually affects everyone. While preservation poses many different challenges, one thing is clear: people are not working to preserve their digital information.”

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