Digital archives business cases

This year’s New South Wales state budget has included funding for a digital archives for State Records NSW, for which, many congratulations! But many of the rest of us, from State organisations to corporate archives and local collecting institutions, are struggling to articulate just what it is that we want, and how much it will cost.  I haven’t been able to find the SRNSW business case, although the FutureProof blog provides us with a great sense of what they believe is important (http://futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/digital-archive/). Fortunately, there are a growing number of examples for us to work with, at least in deciding what it is we really want. Details on cost are seldom discussed, however.

Tasmania has thoughtfully provided this 2005 case for a Digital Information Management and Storage System, via their e-government site (http://www.egovernment.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/78031/Digital_Information_Management_and_Storage_Strategy_Project_Business_Case.pdf). Despite its comparative age, it addresses many of the issues facing archives generally, including the do nothing option, a centralised storage option and decentralised, shared system. The only true sign of its age is the lack of mention of clouds.

UNESCO has a copy of the JISC paper by Neil Grindley, Building the business case for digital preservation (http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/mow/VC_Grindley_26_B_1600.pdf) (n.d., but probably 2013). This provides some case studies for digital preservation, and some basic principles for the same, rather than addressing the question of where the archives are actually stored, but useful nonetheless.

Alison Fleming, from Archives New Zealand, presented a summary of the NZ approach at ICA 2012 in Brisbane (http://ica2012.ica.org/files/pdf/Full%20papers%20upload/ica12Final00241.pdf).  In the paper, she looks at the benefit analysis undertaken by the Archives, based on a range of key objectives, including questions of access, costs of storage and so on.  It is a useful overview but I would suggest that rather than providing certainty, it provides a number of areas in which further research and analysis are required.

Please let me know if you have any other examples – lise.summers@gmail.com or @morethangrass on twitter

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inthemailbox

Archivist, historian, avid reader

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