In many ways, the management of electronic records is no different from the management of paper records. But – and it is a big ‘but’ – there are a few significant differences and one of these is the approach that is taken with archiving of electronic records. For sure there are parallels betweeen the paper and the electronic world. For example, we have to consider the environmental protection of archived physical records just as we have to think of the protection of electronic records. However, there are some important challenges in the e-world.
These challenges can be categorised into system – or technical – issues, process issues and records management issues. The Scientific Archivists Group has recently been getting to grips with these issues and is shortly to release a draft guideline for electronic records and electronic archiving, structured around these three key areas. What is becoming apparent is the need for organizations to develop a digital preservation strategy that addresses each of these three areas, touching on software, hardware and storage media obsolescence as well as understanding the long-term information access requirements of the organization.
To find out more about this important topic, I recommend that you attend the forthcoming Scientific Archivists Group Conference. This is being held on 11th and 12th October in Bristol, United Kingdom. The agenda includes a detailed explanation and discussion on the draft guideline contents as well as the DGGF digitization White Paper and a presentation from Christine Gray, MHRA on the UK MHRA GLP Monitoring Authority view on these issues. This is also a great conference for networking with like-minded professionals. At £337.50, the full conference fee – including 1 night accommodation, all refreshments, drinks reception and conference dinner – represents great value for money. See you there…. but register quickly as there are limited places!!