The Digital Divide. Assessing Organisati…

The Digital Divide. Assessing Organisations’ Preparations for Digital Preservation :
Historically, information was recorded on paper, parchment and papyrus. Despite the apparent vulnerability of these materials, we can still read Egyptian scrolls, illuminated mediaeval manuscripts and early printed books today, hundreds or even thousands of years later. Nowadays, information is recorded digitally on hard drives, CDs and memory sticks. It has become much easier to produce, distribute and store information, and so there is more of it than ever before. It is ironic, though, that the more
information we produce, and the more we can hold in a given space, the shorter the time we seem to be able to keep hold of it for. Given that within decades storage media decay and computer hardware and software become obsolete, a word-processed document written twenty years ago may turn out to be more ephemeral than a text created in ancient Egypt more than 5,000 years ago.
This white paper is based on the findings of a Planets survey of two hundred organisations, mainly European archives and libraries, to investigate their digital preservation activities and
needs. It summarises the survey results, discusses key digital preservation topics, and highlights the steps needed to tackle the challenges of retaining access to our digital information in the medium and long term.


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