The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is at a point where soon they will be taking in more digital records than traditional formats. Federal Times brought this information to us in their article, “The future of preserving the past.”

This comes with challenges in preserving digital records, especially those with ever-changing formats. Digital preservation is fairly new, even though the archives have been receiving electronic records since the 1960s. Only recently was there any real infrastructure to accommodate long-term digital preservation.

It is easy to imagine stacks of papers and books when someone says archiving. This may be true and paper will never go away permanently, but it is now combined with video, audio, maps, photographs, etc. Being able to recognize, process and characterize everything that comes in and then have a plan in place to take care of it forever is no simple task.

The records management world is changing, and its role and influence is changing with it. This includes who is responsible for the management of digital information.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.