Francine Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, has a new article on digital preservation worth reading:
- Berman, Francine. Got data?: a guide to data preservation in the information age. Communications of the ACM, 51, no. 12 (2008): 50-56. [subscription required]
In the article, Berman lists four trends. Number 4 is particularly relevant to us:
Trend 4. Increasing commercialization of digital data storage and services. The 2006 introduction of Amazon Simple Storage Solutions (www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=16427261) was a high-profile example of the trend toward commercialization of data storage and data services. Today, there is considerable activity in the private sector around data storage and services for the consumer; for example, we share and store digital photos through Flickr, employ Apple’s Time Capsule for regular personal computer backup, and use LexisNexis for online legal services.
The commercialization of data storage and services contributes an important component of the data CI [cyberinfrastructure] environment needed to harness the potential of our information-rich world. However, private-sector storage and services are not the solution to all digital data needs. For some digital data considered to be “in the public interest” (such as census data, oficial records, critical scientiic data collections, and a variety of irreplaceable data), a greater level of trust, monitoring, replication, and accountability is required to minimize the likelihood of loss or damage and ensure the data will be there for a very long time. For such community data sets, stewardship by a trusted entity (such as libraries, archives, museums, universities, and institutional repositories), whose mission is the public good rather than profit, is generally required.
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