The challenges of keeping digital information resources accessible

The Library’s digital collections are diverse in terms of type, sources, and levels of control or influence over their creation. In addition, the Library’s digital collections are currently approaching petabyte scale, and are expected to continue growing. Ongoing access to digital resources is threatened by many challenges. From a preservation point of view, the challenges include:

  • A mix of materials needing to be kept in perpetuity, along with materials that can be discarded after specified periods or events;
  • Mixed levels of complexity in terms of object structure, relationships and dependencies;
  • Mixed levels of intellectual control;
  • A wide range of file formats (and carrier formats);
  • Different levels of complexity in preservation planning and processing;
  • Different timetables for preservation action;
  • A need for different preservation approaches, often at different scales; and
  • A need for recurring – and possibly changing - preservation action cycles over time, using a changing suite of tools.

The Library’s digital preservation programs aim to address or at least take account of these challenges.