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Subject: Digitization


From: George Brock-Nannestad <pattac<-a>
Date: Friday, June 24, 2005
Tim Vitale <tjvitale [at] ix__netcom__com\|[gt    ]\| writes

>Anand S. Akolkar <aakolkar [at] mtnl__net__in> writes
>>We are now all going for the digitation of the documents and papers
>>as a part of the conservation programme. Can any body throw some
>>light on the  possible life of the digitized document viz a viz
>>that of the document on paper in its original form, so that a
>>decision  can be made on the application of the traditional or the
>>digitized techniques in the conservation, preservation process?
>The quick answer is that the digital version is infinitely viable.
>However, this longevity depends on adopting a new preservation
>Rather than storage in good quality folders and boxes (or on a shelf
>in the attic) used for paper documents, digital files must be
>migrated from one hard drive to another before the hard drive fails.

It is necessary to appreciate the revolution in approach when using
digitization for conservation rather than for dissemination. In one
respect, preservation by digitization is precisely like running a
glasshouse for plants: you have to provide water continuously,
otherwise you will lose everything. Lack of funding is equal to
drought. Or think of cold storage: if power is not supplied
continuously, the contents inexorably deteriorates.

In itself a digital version is nothing, if the proper equipment is
not available to extract and decode the information. Eyes are no
longer sufficient. The equipment changes all the time, and the
migration of the digital version must occur in the time window when
both the new and the old are available. This is why a prestigious
preservation project (one-time funding) for digitization is so
dangerous: if the "watering" for all eternity is not paid, nothing
is preserved. Please note that this development is not the wish of
archives and museums but pressure from the surrounding world. This
problem is the acid paper of our times and much more dangerous. The
responsibility for longevity no longer lies with conservators. It is
not dependent on their skill but on their persuasive powers to get
new equipment.

George Brock-Nannestad

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:4
                  Distributed: Wednesday, July 6, 2005
                        Message Id: cdl-19-4-013
Received on Friday, 24 June, 2005

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