To ensure long term preservation of digital archives, we must put in place a number of measures and to plan its action. This is a strategy called preservation planning.
A preservation plan defines a set of conservation actions to implement, following the identification of a risk for a set of documents. It must take into account the conservation policy of the archive, regulation, technical and organizational constraints and user needs. It assesses the various possible strategies to choose one and explain the reasons for this choice.
This approach is not suitable for digital long term preservation. Archivists, among others, have always developed conservation plans, only the media changes.
In the domain of computer science, especially the electronic archiving, this preservation planning takes new forms.
What is sustainability /long term preservation – according to the OAIS (ISO 14 721)?
It’s the fact of preserving for a long-term information in a correct and immediately understandable form.
At CINES, the preservation planning focuses on three actions:
- The use of metadata, to ensure understanding of documents over time.
- The conservation of representation information, to know how the file formats are made.
- The selection of file formats for archiving (see Formats Expertise) and the conversion of obsolete file formats, so as to ensure the readability of the file in time.
The emulation, which is one of the strategies currently known to ensure the readability of files over time, is not the strategy that was adopted at CINES. The principle is to imitate the physical properties of a hardware by a software to run it again. This technique, very expensive, is mostly used today to revive the first video games, like Pacman.