NSW State Records has promised to open source any digital preservation software it writes for an archive of “born-digital” records that will sit in a new Western Sydney data centre.
The digital archives project is the State Government’s first attempt to permanently and centrally store a portion of digital files that are beyond “immediate business use”.
“Up until now with these permanent value digital records, government agencies have been obliged to simply maintain them in their own systems,” digital archives project manager Cassie Findlay told iTnews.
The decision to go down the open source route is partially based on facilitating openness, a key challenge in any archival project.
Findlay said the NSW digital archives project aimed to preserve born-digital files “so they will be readable in 100 or 200 years time”.
“This digital archive will have to be around forever so [it has to be] as non-proprietary as possible,” she said.
That impacts decisions on the systems in which the files are to be stored, and on the format in which files are stored.
“We’re also looking at how we can manage, index and retrieve the metadata and the record contents in a very powerful way so people can analyse across large data sets and pull out – providing they’re open access of course – information on a subject basis across a whole range of government departments, which is just impossible to do with older physical sets of records which are in boxed.