Written by Ana Canteli on 21 May 2021
Digital preservation is a concept that is not less important because it goes unnoticed or even ignored. It should be part of the document management of any organization. Not surprisingly, preserving documents related to actions, agreements, transactions, or decision-making is essential to guarantee accountability to interested parties. In addition, given the breadth in the creation and use of digital material, it is common to find this type of content as evidence in legal proceedings or audits.
The conservation and preservation of cultural heritage is a set of measures, techniques, processes, and resources to guarantee the permanence of digital information. It can be used while maintaining its fundamental characteristics such as integrity, authenticity, reliability, legibility, and functionalities, regardless of technological changes or other causes that may alter the information they contain.
The ability to create and record information has increased exponentially; almost at the same speed, the duration of the media has decreased.
The purpose of digital archiving is to guarantee the preservation and use of information in the long term, which is why it is so important to address it, not in isolation but as a whole, taking into account all the tasks that compose it. It would be of little use to keep a file if it cannot be used later. Unlike in the preservation of physical documents, digital preservation outweighs the protection of the information over the medium. Ensuring long-term conservation is more of a challenge than simply keeping the bit string intact.
The fact that digital material lacks physical support, together with the dependence on technology to access and decode it, means that the data that compose different factors can alter it:
To avoid all these problems, creating and implement a preservation plan in the organization is highly recommended.
It is the conservation program for a collection of digital objects in which the following aspects are defined:
When approaching a preservation plan, a multitude of factors must be taken into account. Among them, the characteristics of the maintenance environment are essential since they will define the most suitable digital archiving strategy. The person in charge of the team in order of the preservation plan must know the following aspects:
The objective is the centralization of all the documentation of the entity in the exact location to facilitate the performance and the application of the measures; since alternatives such as storage on computer hard drives have quite a few disadvantages:
OpenKM offers a free software document management system, which allows managing the complete life cycle of digital resources, including the digital preservation policy that the organization wishes to implement. The software is available in an on-premise version, installed on the entity's server. It is also possible to install it in a hybrid version or Cloud mode.
In the case in which the organization is interested in cloud storage, it is advisable to make the following assessments:
With OpenKM Cloud, the organization can adapt the size of the cloud to its needs over time. This mode includes technical support, hosting maintenance, and incremental backups.OpenKM, both in its server and cloud versions, the client holds ownership of their information at all times. The system includes full export functionalities - not just the initial repository but all the work you have done on the system.
Regarding the control of digital files in and of e-mails, the organization should incorporate them into the document repository, transferring them in PDF or XML format. In this regard, OpenKM's document management software includes an e-mail archive module that indexes them, facilitating their search based on multiple criteria, applicable simultaneously: date range, author, recipient, whether it contains attachments or not, the path within the system, etc.
A fundamental aspect of implementing a document management system is determining what standards and formats are used. The consistent use of appropriate measures is essential as they provide a reference point to develop the digital heritage management project with guarantees of authenticity and reliability. These contain instructions to ensure that the organization's system performs its functions reliably and effectively.
To cope with rapidly evolving technologies and the pressing need for interoperability between systems, the adoption of standards and formats is essential. Interoperability is based on those standards that establish the characteristics required by the document management system so that different programs can work together or interact by exchanging information.
This need has led to the development of standards and formats, which aim to guide technical issues that arise when an organization considers implementing a digital content preservation plan. Here we list the most important
The OpenKM document management software is prepared to meet all the requirements of the standards that best suit the company's objectives.
To facilitate long-term preservation, export, and migration, universal or open standards are recommended. These formats ensure greater efficiency in the performance of document management processes and controls and a higher level of interoperability between systems.
In electronic environments, the PDF / A format has become widely used as the standard for digital files to be kept for long periods. This format is used to present electronic documents, preserving the visual appearance, regardless of the applications used to create, store or represent computer files.
A document created in PDF / A format is a document:
Thus, a PDF file can be generated from other electronic formats or by digitizing documents, but it maintains a logical structure and allows metadata preservation.
With the PDF / A format, you don't need the applications usually required to open and view electronic documents; this allows us to avoid the software's obsolescence and allow searches by text content. It also supports the embedding of electronic signatures on the document. All this makes PDF / A the ideal format to keep documents unaltered in the long term.
The OpenKM document management software includes a PDF converter and a set of PDF tools that efficiently allow users to work with this type of content. Apart from displaying the document, it can be divided, rotated, and extracted pages or even deleted them when necessary.
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