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Title:Preservation of computer-based and computer-generated records
Author(s):Neavill, Gordon B.
Subject(s):Preservation of computer-based records
Abstract:The advent of the computer is comparable in its revolutionary implications to the advent of the printing press. Like printing from movable type, electronic digital communication offers significant advantages over previous technologies, and it has taken hold and spread very rapidly. As the twentieth century draws to a close, more and more records are being created, stored, and disseminated in digital form. A growing number of analog records are being converted to digital form so they can be incorporated into computer-based systems. But just as no one in the fifteenth century fully grasped the implications of the printing revolution, the implications of the computer revolution social, cultural, economic, and intellectual remain largely unclear to us. Especially unclear are the implications for long-term access to digitally encoded information. Issues concerning the preservation and survival of records in digital form have attracted little attention. How long will various forms of digital media last? What steps must be taken to ensure the survival of the information they contain? We have little experience or substantive knowledge to guide policy decisions concerning the preservation of computer-based and computer-generated records, but the implications of what is known are troubling. Many digital storage media have short life expectancies; moreover, retrieval of their information content is dependent on specific software and hardware that may have even shorter life expectancies. Some of the best informed computer experts believe that the only way to ensure long-term access to information is to retain it in human-readable rather than digital form.
Issue Date:1991
Publisher:Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:In K.L. Henderson and W.T. Henderson (eds) Conserving and preserving material in nonbook format (Papers presented at the Allerton Park Institute November 6-9, 1988): 45-60.
Series/Report:Allerton Park Institute (30th : 1988)
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-04-10

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