The Digital Dark Age is a term coined by Terry Kuny in 1997 as a warning about the potential loss of digital information and emphasises the importance of digital preservation efforts. To prevent or mitigate this scenario, organisations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to implement robust digital preservation strategies, which involve the systematic planning, management, and safeguarding of digital assets to ensure their long-term accessibility and usability. These efforts help bridge the gap between current technology and the preservation of valuable digital content for future generations.

Digital preservation strategies are essential for libraries, archives, museums, businesses, government organisations, and any entity that relies on digital information. By implementing a comprehensive strategy, organisations can ensure that their digital assets remain accessible over time, thereby mitigating the risk of data loss and the potential for a “Digital Dark Age.”

Here are measures to help prevent a Digital Dark Age:

Digital Preservation Strategy: Develop a comprehensive digital preservation strategy that outlines how your organisation will manage and protect digital assets over time. This strategy should include policies, procedures, and technologies to safeguard data from obsolescence and loss.

File Format Migration: Regularly review and update the file formats in which digital content is stored. Plan for format migrations to ensure that content can be opened and read using current and future software.

Metadata Management: Implement robust metadata practices to document the context, structure, and history of digital objects. Metadata aids in the discovery, management, and preservation of digital resources.

Backup and Redundancy: Establish a robust backup and redundancy system. This includes regular data backups, both onsite and offsite, to protect against data loss caused by hardware failures, disasters, or cyberattacks.

Periodic Data Integrity Checks: Conduct regular data integrity checks to identify and address any data corruption. Fixity checks, which verify that data has not been altered, are a crucial component of this process.

Disaster Recovery Planning: Develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to address scenarios where data is lost due to natural disasters, cyberattacks, or other unexpected events.

Register for our upcoming “Digitise Once with DatacomIT, Preserve Forever with Preservica” webinar on World Digital Preservation Day, Thursday, November 2nd, to discover more about developing a digital preservation strategy and the tools required.