I just received an e-mail from Karim Boughida, who expressed dismay that the Getty Research Institute is not receiving more museum responses to the International Digital Preservation Systems Survey. While they have gathered an impressive 144 responses so far, only 2 have come from museums! If you are a museum, and have a system which you rely on for digital preservation, I’d urge you to contribute to this survey. Karim and his team will widely publicize the findings, which will benefit the entire community.
I personally suspect that most museums who are investing in stewardship of digital assets currently work on digital asset management (also see the recent RLG DigiNews special issue on the topic), which arguably has a different focus from long-term retention / digital preservation. I recently wrote an article for an AAM book publication tentatively titled “Museums in the Digital Age” on this very issue (edited by Herminia Din and Phyllis Hecht, to be published Fall 2007), and if I may have the vanity to pre-print quote myself:
Since commercial DAMS systems are created with the intent to manage present-day digital files for use rather than for posterity, a conservative view of their capability to preserve digital files according to established standards seems prudent. Rather than a silver bullet solution, the DAMS could be seen as a museum’s first major point of engagement with the thorny issues of digital preservation. Beyond all other obvious benefits to museum operations, implementing a DAMS is a first step towards better stewardship of digital assets, which may develop into a full-blown institutional digital preservation strategy down the line.
I’d be particularly interested in museum responses from DAMS implementers – the survey could be one way to gage how far down the path of digital preservation their work on asset management has taken them.
Maybe the good folks over at Musematic could also make a call for museum input?