National Library of Australia Staff Papers, 2000

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The likely imact(s) of digital technology on conservation/preservation in Australia

Colin Webb


As a senior preservation manager involved in digital preservation, I'm often asked whether I think digital technology will be a good thing or a bad thing for preservation.

I am most interested in the impact of digital technology on preservation, as the broader set of responsibilities for keeping collections, objects and/or the information or values they convey available for use for as long as they are needed. This includes conservation as a subset but I don't want to spend time arguing definitions here.

Depending on your perspective, digital technology presents either just a new set of challenges and opportunities, or a fundamental reshaping of the mindset with which we have approached preservation in the past.

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