A Cry From the Trenches: Fighting the Ongoing War with Digital Obsolescence One Day at a Time

A Cry From the Trenches: Fighting the Ongoing War with Digital Obsolescence One Day at a Time 

I’ve lost track of how many “OH CRAP!” moments I have experienced in my short career. As the Digital Collections Curator at Northern Illinois University, I have seen some pretty gnarly (digital) things. Things that have really hammered home for me the importance of the research work we are doing on the Digital POWRR project.

Many institutions have acquired digital content without much thought given to future use and access. We take it all in, the good shepherds that we are. We build systems and websites that can do nifty things. We frequently take it for granted that digital materials require active and ongoing preservation. This is not a one time thing! Traditional printed materials readily show us their boo-boos upon physical inspection….torn pages, broken bindings, insect damage, mold, graffiti, etc. Digital stuff, on the other hand, can’t be eyeballed for a quick health check. You need to be mindfully monitoring it constantly. Like a puppy near a bunch of electrical cables. 0.o

Source: POWRR Preserving Objects With Restricted Resources

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