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Biggest Causes of Loss of Digitial Information?

David Rosenthal, in a post on his blog, gives a brief presentation on the principles behind the LOCKSS technology. In it, he explains some of the thought behind it (with useful links!). One of the key questions of digital preservation is “What are the causes of data loss?” David notes that most people would answer this question with the usual suspects: Media failure, Hardware failure, Software failure, Network failure, Obsolescence, Natural Disaster. But, David says, if you ask the people who run large data centers you get a different list:

  • Operator error
  • External Attack
  • Insider Attack
  • Economic Failure
  • Organization Failure

That helped inform the design of LOCKSS, which was explicitly modelled on the paper library system, which created lots of copies of material to be preserved, on durable, somewhat tamper-evident media, and scattered them around the world in such a way as to make it easy to find (and potentially alter or destroy) some of them but hard to be sure that you had found all of them.

Read on:

LOCKSS is the underlying technology for the Digital Federal Depository Library Program or “USDocs” private LOCKSS network.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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