Previous section | Contents | Next section

1. Introduction

The recently published US Commission on Preservation and Access (CPA) and The Research Libraries Group (RLG) Task Force report, Preserving digital information (Waters and Garrett), highlighted the importance of the preservation of our digital heritage. In the following text this seminal report will be referred to as the ‘CPA/RLG report’.

Digital preservation is still relatively undeveloped. A United Kingdom (UK) strategy is lacking for the long term preservation of digital information on a large-scale sufficient to support future scholarship and research.

It has been recognised by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils (HEFCE) and the British Library (BL) that British policy and action on the long term preservation of digital information are necessary. Initial debate took place at the end of last year, at a JISC/BL Workshop, Long term preservation of electronic materials. A JISC/British Library Workshop as part of the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib). Organised by UKOLN 27th and 28th November 1995 at the University of Warwick. Report prepared by the Mark Fresko Consultancy. The British Library, 1996. (British Library R&D Report 6238). In the following text this will be referred to as the ‘Warwick Workshop’.

Debate has continued at various meetings since then, most recently, at Preservation and digitisation: principles, practice and policies, this year's (1996) National Preservation Office(NPO) annual conference (attended by one of the authors).

Within this project an analysis of the UK applicability and relevance of the CPA/RLG Report formed the basis of further discussion at an invitation meeting leading to specific conclusions and recommendations for action. (The CPA/RLG report has also been used in this manner for the preparation of a Draft statement of principles on the preservation of and long-term access to Australian digital objects (National Library of Australia. National Preservation Office).

1.1 Scope of project

This research did not cover:-

Previous section | Contents | Next section

Web version of this report by Alan Poulter