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Initiative Sustainability in the Digital World

Initiative Sustainability in the Digital World

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Sustainability in the Digital World

Are the testimonies of creativity and science recorded on digital media going to disappear soon? Are the first years after the digital revolution going to be a "white spot" in the memory of future generations? In the past, memory institutions such as archives, libraries and museums have made sure that the testimonies of cultural creation will survive. But what is the situation today?

With the transition to digital media, we face entirely new challenges. These relate to the traditional memory organizations as well as the new forms of cultural memory. New technical and organizational skills are required when it comes to digital preservation.

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Thereby compete different strategies of migration, emulation, and also the transmission of digital information to physical carriers. What is the role of archives, libraries and museums, which tasks go to data centers or private companies? How safe are the different strategies of digital preservation? Who is responsible if these strategies fail? And what effects has digitization for small and medium size institutions as well as the new memory organizations. What is their role in the ensemble of cultural heritage institutions? How can a "volatile medium" such as the Internet be archived? How important is sustainability for the Semantic Web?


The concepts of digital preservation are presented on an international scale and various aspects of the subject are analyzed. It will start with an inventory. What kind of concepts exists, what expertise is required for long time preservation, which institutions take responsibility? It is to be worked out in each case, whether concepts can be regarded as promising or not and why. At the first meeting on March 1st, technical issues are at the forefront. The second meeting on 19th of April will be devoted to normative aspects of technology. What is the role of standards? Are efforts to control the use of content by programming comply with long-term archiving? The third meeting on 31st of May will finally devote cultural and philosophical issues of preservation in times of ever-increasing amounts of data. What should ever be archived and at what expense? The criteria for sustainability in the digital world developed in the three meetings will lead to guidelines for the evaluation of sustainability. These guidelines will be presented at the end of the initiative publicly.

Paul Klimpel, Jürgen Keiper, December 2012
Gordon Süß
Linda Walter
Gordon Süß
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