The Digital Preservation working group focuses on the problem of long-term preservation of digital museum data - not only of those created as part of a museums documentation effort. As yet, there is no satisfactory answer to the question of how to keep those digital data alive which are important for our work. Many museums have not yet considered the importance of these data and are still unaware of their fragility and short life-span.
At its meeting in Gothenburg the Working Group decided to prepare a short paper to make all professionals in museums producing digital data and all those responsible for decisions in museums more aware of the problems and the tasks that have to be undertaken immediately. This paper is still in preparation. It will be published here as soon as it is finished.
If you like to take part in our discussions please feel free to contact:
c/o Dr. Stefan Rohde-Enslin, Institute for Museum Research, In der Halde 1, 14195 Berlin (Germany)
We had two meetings. The first was attended by 12 and the second by 13 participants.
In the first meeting we tried to get an overview of the state of digital preservation in the countries we came from.
There was an agreement that in all countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic):
In some countries national strategies, or at least efforts, are on the way. Again, libraries and archives are taking part more intensely in such efforts than museums do.
We agreed that it might be a good thing to prepare a position paper for CIDOC (and if no one else is doing it probably also for ICOM) that makes internationally visible the issue that digital preservation is an open question which also concerns museums. This position paper is aiming at our existing international audience on the one hand; on the other it shall be like an appeal to directors of museums to take this issue seriously.
During the second meeting we discussed a first version of that paper. We agreed on how to structure the content, that it shall be short, with some clear statements and explanation of each statement. The discussion will be continued using email until we reach a publishable version. Many of us offered to organise/do translation into their respective language.
In the paper we argue that digital preservation of museum data needs responsibilities and plans. To formulate a model-plan could be a next step in the work of the group. This then also shall be translated.
(Done in Berlin, September 20, 2006 - Stefan Rohde-Enslin)