[LIS-Forum] 'Digital black hole' threatens your documents

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Tue Dec 19 18:16:18 IST 2006

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 15:49:24 +0530
From: praveen kumar veeramalla <praveenkumarveeramalla at gmail.com>

*The European Union is funding a project involving national libraries and
digital preservation groups aimed at fighting off a looming "digital black

The black hole in question is the potential future loss of data as file
formats become obsolete and inaccessible.

The planets consortium will develop a "sustainable framework" to maintain
access to digital content after its original storage format has disappeared.
("Planets" is short for "preservation and long-term access project through
networked services.)

It is estimated that 5 billion documents are produced every year within the
EU, of which 2 percent--100 million--are seen as worth archiving. Two
million of these documents are on formats at risk from disappearing into the
digital black hole.

The consortium includes national libraries, archives, research institutes
and technology specialists across Europe. The organizations taking part
include the British Library; Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England; IBM
Netherlands; the Austrian National Library; the Swiss Federal Archives; and
Freiburg and Cologne universities in Germany.

The EU's Information Society Technologies R&D program is providing
8.6million euros ($11.3 million) of the 14 million euros ($18.5
required to fund the project.

Adam Farquhar, head of e-architecture at the British Library, said that as
computer hardware and software become obsolete,digital information reliant
on this technology becomes increasingly hard to find, view, search and

"There is a growing consensus on the need to act now to avoid a gaping hole
in our cultural and scientific record," he said.

LynneeBrindley ,chief executive of the British Library, said European
libraries and archives are uniquely positioned to lead this
digital-preservation initiative, as they have the legal responsibility and
the legislative framework to safeguard digital information.
*Tim Ferguson of silicon.com reported from London*
*CNet news*
praveen kumar veeramalla

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