What is digital continuity?
Digital continuity is the ability to access and use digital records for as long as required, and through organisational, business and technological changes. Ensuring long-term access to records is difficult due to:
- deterioration of storage media, obsolescence of software, storage media, and hardware
- complexities associated with authenticity and integrity of digital records.
Queensland State Archives is working to address these challenges to ensure the continued accessibility of Queensland’s digital public records.
Why is digital continuity important?
Government is transitioning from a paper based organisation to a paperless organisation. Unless coherent practices and systems are put in place for the long-term management of the rapidly growing volume of digital public records, business efficiencies will not be gained and the renewal transformation of government will slow.
An open and accountable government needs to capture, manage, retain and provide appropriate access to the digital evidence of public administration.
Digital records are vulnerable to loss due to technological obsolescence. Active and ongoing intervention is needed to ensure the long-term authenticity, security and online accessibility of the critical digital records of government. With the proliferation of digital records in a multitude of aging IT systems, the need to address the problem is urgent.
What is Queensland State Archives doing to implement digital continuity?
In 2012 Queensland State Archives released its Digital Continuity Strategy. This Strategy sets out the basis for the work to be undertaken by Queensland State Archives to develop a digital continuity approach for all Queensland public authorities.
Developed after extensive consultation with public authorities, this strategy outlines the objective, activities and guiding principles for ensuring digital public records can remain accessible, authentic and meaningful over time despite the obsolescence of hardware, software and media. The objective is to safeguard and deliver easy access to the essential evidence of public administration, the corporate memory of government and a vital component of the documentary history of the state for the benefit of current and future generations.
For more information on the results of consultation to examine the digital archiving practices of Queensland public authorities that informed the development of the strategy, go to Investigating digital continuity practices.
Queensland State Archives is now working on a staged program of work to implement the strategy. Our vision for successfully implemented digital continuity is summarized in the diagram below:
What approach will Queensland State Archives take to implementing digital continuity?
In August 2014 the Queensland Government directed Queensland State Archives to develop a centre-led approach to sourcing the delivery of service solutions to government to help ensure the ongoing integrity, useability and accessibility of its critical digital information assets. Queensland State Archives will use market engagement and industry partnerships to iteratively test, prove and roll out the services and solutions required by government.
The intention is to provide government with a choice of service providers in a competitive and contestable market, whereby common user infrastructures and services for digital preservation, storage and access can be used in ways that maximise information reuse and economies of scale to deliver lasting benefits to the people of Queensland.
To contact the Digital Archives team, please telephone (07) 3131 7951 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.