Besides confidentiality, there are legal issues. And considering that I am living and working in the United States, the last thing I would want to do is stir a sleeping lawyer. Let sleeping lions lay, as they say.
But there are some things worth mentioning: the importance of digital archives management and preservation is growing. As more collections are digitized, the more there is a real need to take on the challenge of managing digital assets and preserving their long-term or permanent value in their born-digital or converted-to-digital state.
There is also a growing need to allow for improved and increased access to collections, both paper-based and digital. The future of archivists--those individuals recording, managing and preserving the activities and memory of an institution for posterity--lies not only in controlling the material they work with on a daily basis but in giving the collections a chance to see the light of day. Not every piece of a collection is a gem (trust me, I know); but there are sufficient materials to showcase that will indeed stir interest - and hopefully stir further interest in archives, demystify the profession, and shatter of few stereotypes.
- Digitizing collections (for access and/or preservation purposes)
- Improved and increased access to digital collections (user-friendly web access)
- Digital management and preservation procedures and protocols (research and practical approach to managing and preserving digital assets).
Together they form a storyline of the future of archives, I believe.
Truth is, dear readers, The DIGITAL Archive is not a promo for archives; rather, it is call to archives and archivists, as other information-centric professionals have done, to acknowledge the potential and power that the web and web technologies can have on the field.