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Trusting Digital Preservation Services : Motives and Means of the Public Sector McGuirk, Kristina 2017

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Trusting	Digital	Preservation	Services:Kristina	McGuirkDigital preservation has been discussed as an importantconsideration for archival work since 2000. Shortly after,literature also began predicting the development ofdigital preservation as a purchasable service.Despite early awareness, long-term digital preservationis still not an inherent component of recordkeeping andarchival practice. As a result, obsolescence, hardwarefailure, insecure storage, and human error continue tothreaten the integrity and longevity of digital records.And although many cloud-based archival activities havebeen embraced, preservation services have been slow todevelop and even slower to be trusted.IntroductionMcGuirk,	K.	(2016).	“Trust,	Motivation,	and	Digital	Archiving	Services.”	Retrieved	from	FocusAs an emerging concept, digital preservation servicesare not yet widely studied. To enhance this research, Ialso considered scholarship on digital repositories—ahighly studied, critical component of comprehensivedigital preservation—and trust of digital services.FindingsMotives	that	encourage	use	of	digital	archival	services• Preventing	loss	of	records	and	information	resulting	in	loss	of	productivity	and	income	• Providing	structured,	secure,	and	monitored	access• Laws,	regulations,	and	institutional	policies• Records	management	and	retention	requirements• Less	expensive,	more	sustainable	than	in-house	• Preserving	items	of	cultural	and	historical	significanceDisincentives	that	inhibit	use	of	digital	archival	services• Uncertainty	about	confidentiality,	copyright,	quality	and	reputation	of	service	provider• Initially	high	costs	of	money,	time,	and	resources• Human	resources	required	to	administer• Steep	learning	curve,	requisite	in-depth	knowledge• Concerns	about	delays	in	access	to	materials• Long-term	rather	than	immediate	benefitsTrust	in	the	digital	records	work	environmentResearch reveals trust is socially and situationallyinfluenced, meaning reputation and personal experienceplay a big part in using digital archival services.Perhaps more powerful than trust in the product orprovider is the trust needed in working relationships.While preservation is traditionally in the purview ofarchivists and records managers, digital services requireIT personnel as well. In this more complex network ofrecords stakeholders, trust is not a given. In fact,archivists are not necessarily equally trusted with digitalrecords as they are with paper records.11 Oliver,	G.,	Chawner,	B.,	&	Liu,	H.	P.	(2011).	Implementing	digital	archives:	issues	of	trust.	Archival	Science,	11(3-4),	311-327.2 Hamilton,	A.	(2016).	“Digital	Preservation	As	A	Service:	International	Archival	Survey.”	Unpublished	findings.	ReferencesIn the summer of 2016, researchers at VictoriaUniversity of Wellington (New Zealand) and QueenslandState Archives (Australia) conducted an internationalsurvey on archival perceptions of digital preservation.2I was given access to their unpublished findings; theresults supported many themes identified in theliterature review.Findings• Lack of funding, lack of time for planning, and lack ofresources were identified barriers. However, 91% ofrespondents have information stored on hardwarethat is, or will soon be, obsolete.• Asked to rank four issues related to digitalpreservation, in order of what concerns theirinstitutions the most, accessibility was top priority,followed by authenticity.• Regarding outsourcing to third-party services,respondents identified concerns about costs, security,control and access, and compliance with regulations.• When considering what elements archival work theywould consider outsourcing, respondents easilyidentified backups and conversion and migrationprocesses, but they were less sure of the idea ofoutsourcing metadata preparation and migration.One theme identified through the comments but notdirectly addressed in the questionnaire was the lack ofunderstanding and support from management regardingthe importance of digital archives and preservation.Survey	ReviewMotives	and	Means	of	the	Public	Sectorkmcguirk@alumni.ubc.caSchool	of	Library,	Archival,	and	Information	StudiesAcknowledgements:	This	research	is	part	of	InterPARES Trust,	funded	by	a	Partnership	Grant	through	SSHRC.	This	research	is	lead	by	Gillian	Oliver,	Associate	Professor	at	Monash	University,	Melbourne.	Special	thanks	to	Adrian	Cunningham,	Ingrid	Macdonald,	and	David	Bromage for	recruiting	focus	group	participants	at	the	Queensland	State	Archives.Digital	preservation	services	are	third-party	cloud	services	that	combine	the	elements	of	a	trustworthy	digital	repository	(such	as	secure	storage	and	access)	with	continuous	preservation	processes	including• integrity	monitoring• routine	backups• file	migration• emulationso	that	digital	objects	remain	accessible	over	time,	regardless	of	the	technology	that	created	them.	definitionAn important message emerged in both the literaturereview and survey: regardless of the motives and meansof archival institutions, communication between recordsstakeholders is key to pursuing digital preservation.Upcoming focus groups will further explore this criticalfactor by asking archivists, records managers, ITpersonnel, and management to come together toconsider their own institutional environment andidentify factors that will play a significant role indecisions to purchase digital preservation services.The focus groups will take place with recordsstakeholders in agencies under the direction of theQueensland State Archives (QSA). In addition tooverseeing state recordkeeping and identifying items forpermanent retention in the archives, QSA also advisespublic agencies on their own recordkeeping practices.QSA is at the center of this research because they arecurrently, formally seeking digital preservation services.They are also looking into incentives and feasibility toencourage local-level digital preservation. This is a rich,informed environment for further research.Focus groups will consist of three parts(1)	Discussing	digital	records	and	the	key	players	in	stakeholders’	environments(2)	Considering	a	model	proposed	by	QSA	for	localimplementation(3)	Assessing	how	motivatorsand	disincentives	identified	in	literature	and	survey	results	manifest	in	agenciesengaged	in	investigating	digital	preservation	services	Findings	will	be	disseminated	to	encourage	more	effective	communication	when	advocating	for	digital	preservation	and	services.	Literature	ReviewResearch	QuestionFocus	GroupsWhat	factors	encourage	or	inhibit	public	sector	agencies’	trust	in	digital	preservation	services?To address this, I conducted a literature review, studiedunpublished results of a related survey directed byanother research team, and organized focus groupswith government records stakeholders.what’s next


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