Digital information is part and parcel of life today, but electronic objects are more fragile than we think. The speed of technological advance means they have an average lifespan of just five years. Anyone who assumes they can rely on his or her digital memory needs to safeguard its future accessibility.
Specific characteristics of the new-media documents we create, modify, collect and exchange every day rule out familiar storage methods like those we use for paper. We depend on hard- and software, secure storage media, suitable cables and an intact bitstream to interpret – i.e., read and process – digital information. Remove one link in the chain and the document is lost.
Information on preservation is hard to find, and existing strategies don’t suit every situation. Saving digital documents requires, first of all, proper care from the beginning.