Archival collections in digital asset management systems: Preservation
Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that when considering your digital asset management process it's important to think about preservation. But what is digital preservation and why should you start thinking about it now?
Digital preservation is making sure that your digital information remains accessible and usable as changes in technology occur. The digital preservation process involves establishing the value of your assets and then preserving them in such a way that is going to be both cost effective and accessible when you do need them.
But why is this important? Think about the current effort and resources that go into your digital asset collection. Without ensuring the availability of these assets in the future, you could end up wasting time recreating them or not being able to use them at all.
Steps to preservation
It wouldn't be practical to maintain access to all data indefinitely, especially when working with a large number of assets and digital information. So the first step in the preservation process is to establish a clear set of goals.
These goals should revolve around the current use of digital assets, the value of these assets and the possibility for reuse in the future. Here are some core questions you should ask yourself when establishing goals:
- How are we currently using these assets?
- How are our goals as a business evolving over time?
- How will these changes affect our assets?
- Do we need to preserve whole assets or just some digital information?
The second step is an audit of your assets based on these goals. This audit should separate assets based on their current significance and continuing value. Ask yourself:
- What value do these assets have for the overall business?
- Will this value change over time?
- What competitive advantage do these assets provide our business?
- Are there any legal implications surrounding the use or reuse of these assets?
Establishing value is really at the core of this audit and there are four key areas of value to consider:
- Internal business processes
- Customer and external stakeholders
- Innovation and development
- Financial aspects
How to preserve your assets
The next step in this preservation process is the how. How are you going to preserve these assets to protect their value and ensure their availability in the future? A digital asset management system promotes the digital asset lifecycle by supporting assets from creation through use to preservation.
Cloud storage costs are minimal and it may seem logical to keep your assets in a space where they are always readily available, however, this is not very practical. Not only can this put a strain on your DAM, but it can clutter the space for your current users trying to locate the assets they need to use now.
This is where archival storage, as well as a strong permission structure, can play an important part in creating a clear distinction between your archival assets and your active assets, and how they each need to be maintained and stored.