Preservation and Access to Digital Materials: Strategic Policy Options for Africa

Preservation and Access to Digital Materials: Strategic Policy Options for Africa

Trywell Kalusopa (University of Zululand, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3137-1.ch008


As the digital world unfolds, Africa continues to grapple with the issues of preservation and access of digital materials. This chapter demonstrates through a systematic literature review how Africa could learn from other efforts in the world to develop and guide their own strategic and policy options to deal with issues of preservation and access of digital materials. The chapter reviews literature on global or universal collaborative strategies and efforts on digital preservation initiated in the developed world as a learning curve for Africa. The current challenges of national and institutional capacities regarding the preservation of digital materials in selected African countries that have made some visible efforts and impact are also discussed. The chapter then makes several recommendations on the strategic and policy options for improving the state of material preservation, human and material requirements in order to improve the long-term preservation, and standards for the longer-term usability and interoperability of digital materials in Africa.
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Digital Preservation And Access: Concepts And Definitions

In existing literature reviewed, there appears to be some lack of precise definitions regarding the concepts and terms that embrace digital preservation as an emerging area of research and discipline. However, what is true is that there is some relative consensus on some working definitions that continue to evolve over time.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Continuity: Digital continuity is the capacity of an organization or state to maintain its services and digital data relevant for the its functioning, regardless of any adverse changes or interruptions so as to enable stability, recovery and restoration of e-services rapidly in the event natural disaster.

Preservation: Preservation implies policies and options for maintenance of different formats of information materials so that the spiritual, ritual, or cultural perceptions of value are retained through reformatting the content and physical structure and environmental controls.

Authenticity: This implies the digital material is what it purports to be. In the case of electronic records, it refers to the trustworthiness of the electronic record as a record. In the case of “born digital” and digitized materials, it refers to the fact that whatever is being cited is the same as it was when it was first created unless the accompanying metadata indicates any changes. Confidence in the authenticity of digital materials over time is particularly crucial owing to the ease with which alterations can be made.

Digitization: Digitization is the process of converting information into a digital format making it easier to preserve, access, and share the content without any physical barrier worldwide.

Digital Archiving: Digital archiving is the process of creating digital backup as an ongoing maintenance as opposed to strategies for long-term digital preservation.

Digital Preservation: Digital preservation is a series of adopted management activities necessary to ensure a continued access to digital materials for as long as required.

Web Archiving: Web archiving is a careful process of collection, selection, storage, appraisal and preservation of website records and information so to make it available to posterity.

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