Monday, July 27, 2009

digital archive

By Khairul Izzuan Bin Ahmad


In this era of technology and globalization, computers have their role to help human to do their job at any field. With the system database, the record can be easy access and also easy to retrieve it. Computer technology also help people make their record is preserve in long term time and that record can become the important document to be a evidence when unexpected cases happened. With this awareness, archives as general that have the role to preserve the higher value document like manuscript, agreement letter and another things, must use this computer technology opportunity to improve their duty to preserve the document and record. One of them where archive institution can make with computer technology is establish the digital archive via the internet or website. Based from these many national archive in the world have established their digital archive by using World Wide Web, for an example The National Archives of Australia and many European countries have developed their web sites. Like Archive of Australia have web site that available on internet and provides information and link archives and manuscript collections in Australia.

In this report will view the definition of digital archive, the features of digital archive, benefit and advantages of digital archive, problem and challenger in digital archive with solution.


Digital archive is the service of archive via the World Wide Web technology. This digital archive is more efficient and easy to access and retrieve the archive material in main archive institution.

Digital archive also called digital preservation refer to long term storage, preservation and access to digital information.(Gail Hodge and Bonnie C. Carroll Information International Associates, Inc)


All thing in the world have their own characteristic, these characteristic will help us to more understanding the topic we discuss. It same in digital archive, also have their own characteristic or features. The features of digital archive based from OCLC is Two archiving method, standard based system, all format accepted, configurable option, administrative action, complete perseveration metadata, data check and process report.

First is two archiving method, from OCLC, it is mean use a web interface to capturing web pages or window program that builds ready-to-archive packages from owner digitized image. Based from this, make user easily to submit materials to the system in two ways by using Web archiving for selection and preservation of HTML pages and their components and batch archiving for collection-based archiving of resources already saved onto other media.

Secondly is standard based system. Means digital archive based to the OAIS (Open Archival Information System) reference Model ISO standard and for information archiving as well as the METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard). Metadata schema. With this standard system, make user easily to communicate with the system and not have to learn the new topic to using the system.

Thirdly is All format are accepted, with this also can make user more easily to using the digital archive such as format in the mp3 for music or sound record, JPG for picture or image, Adobe Reader for read the article and other writing. With this all format are available in digital archive, can give user more interest to using digital archive. Next is configurable option or configurable access, means the owner of material held in the digital archive can controlling and decide who can access their archived object by using administrator module. From that can make their authority is preserved and have their own right for their material.

Next of the feature by OCLC is administrative action, with this administrative action can make owner or user to update metadata, conduct their own quality checks, organize content into collections or create end-user access groups. From this also can make user are easily to handling their digital archive.

Complete preservation metadata means digital archive records consist of a fully developed set of preservation metadata elements that was developed in consultation with users. Next feature by OCLC is data check and report control. Data check is data or records in digital archive are protected by viruses and have a backup when have a disaster to the system digital archive and also make sure the record or data are healthy. The report control is all the archiving activities will report to immediately and make user know and up to date with the digital archive.

By all the features by OCLC, make we know and more understanding what is the digital archive.



Digital archives via the online in internet have many advantages. Firstly the question is why develop archive on the web. Internet is a worldwide collection of networks that connect millions of business, government agencies, educational institutions, and individuals. That show one billion people around the world use the internet daily for a variety of reasons like to communicate with and meet other people, access a wealth of information, news and research finding, shop for goods and services and any more can people doing by using the internet. For that reason, when using the internet via the web, people can use digital archive for their consultation, they do not go to the archive, but only sit on the chair and by fingers they can find and search the information by using digital archive. For an example, in the archives of U.S.A by established archives via internet like in this web sites, categorised information under important heading like Welcome, About Research Room, Record Management, Record Centre Programme, Federal Register, Grants, Exhibition Halls, Digital Class Room, Presidential Libraries and Search Site Index have been included. By all these services have in the web archive, user can easily to access and use all the services that archive provided for them. Its can reduce cost of money and also can reduce cost of time.


Other benefit and advantages using the digital archive or digital preservation is make the archived material like manuscript, letter and everything can be transformed to electronic record. By this way, can make all the record that have high value can be preserved in long term. Every body include the organisation, government institution and individual want to preserve their document for their future. These all document their want preserved because their want the record can be used for the future. From that, by using digital archive, they can make the document preserved in long term also can be back up when the original archived is destroyed.


Other benefit in the digital archive is the storage in their system database is reliability. Database system is a collection of data organized in a manner that allow access, retrieval, and use of data. With database system that maintaining properly, the records that held in digital archive not only can preserved for long term, easy to access, retrieval and can using the data easily but also the reliability of the security in that digital archive is more efficient. With database, the record in the digital archive is not easy to lost and the contain of the record is not easily be changed. With database system also can make easily to access and retrieve. Instead of trying some record by catalogue and shelves of list, by retrieve using database is easily and quickly. For an example Database FindStarOnline that was created by The Manheim City Archive, Germany in 2005. At the moment this database in general public can only access such metadata that does not run the risk of violating any data protection rights. The archive itself has of course the authorisation to access all records. In near future their will give the permission to the public and organisation to access their own record. From this example, show the database system is very important in digital library that make user are easily to access the digital archive.


Next benefit by using digital archive is can communicate and sharing the archived that held in the digital archive with another archive and institutional around the world. With this service by internet, digital archive can made user to expand their research by using the link that provide by digital archive, from that, user can sharing their knowledge and information with other archival institutional. For an example the archive of U.S.A have their relating link like with The National Archives of Australia, The National Archive of Canada and other things. With this services that provide can make the archive institution more productive and efficient to guide user to expand their research.



Digital archive is new methods to archive institutional around the world. Therefore digital archive also has a lot of problem and challenges for improved the digital archive services. Because digital archive is using via internet and computer technology have come out with the problem of user that not have the knowledge how to use the digital archive services. With this problem, can make the implication to digital archive to promote and expand their services, because user without knowledge will have the potential to not using the digital archive. Because of this problem, again OCLC come out with their guideline in their web pages to guide the user how to use the digital archive service.


The next problem is staffs no have so much the knowledge to manage the digital record. Based from Journal of The society of Archivists, vol.25, No 1, 2004, in the title “Archives in Digital Age” by Kimberly Barata. Author said in this journal “the model for archival education is breaking down. Existing university-based archives management course lack a practical element in managing electronic record. Students do not have opportunity to translate theory to practise, either on the course using laboratory facilities, or in the year preceding the commencement of their course, because such placement opportunity are extremely limited.” If we see the statement “student do not have opportunity to translate theory to practise” we can understand why the staff are not have so much the knowledge, because student after graduate and work in the archival institutional cannot using what their learn at University and that can be a problem to digital archive because the staff handling it no have so much knowledge in digitalization and computer technology. From that cases, staff must be give the continuous education regularly to make sure their skills are improved equal the technology that have in that time.


The next problem that digital archive face off is the security and the authentic of the material that held in the digital archive. As we know computer are have a risk from viruses, spy ware, hackers and other things. With not keeping the data that stored in the digital archive properly, can make the authentic of the data is not secure because hackers can move on the system and changed the contain of data. About viruses, as we know virus is very similar with the computer risk. Virus can make the data lost and not longer in the computer. From that cases, digital archive must ensure the security of data that held in their storage are very secure and have the authorial rights. For an example, by using the security like Anti viruses software, firewall and other security like password and so on , can make the digital archive more secure and the data that held in their storage are protected from computer disaster.


The next problem is the legal way for digital archive. As we know there are no have so much the legal way for digital archive. First thing why must have legal way to digital archive? The answer is for make sure the characteristic of the record are not changed and the original content, the authority of the record are not disturbed. For that reason, the government especially, must inquire properly this issue and made some legal way to make sure the intelligent properties, authentic and the right of the original record are secure.


The other problem is a cost for established digital archive. The problem is not only the cost of money but also cost of time. For cost of money to establish the digital archive is very expensive, for an example must pay lot of money to appoint the person or group that have master skill in the computer technology, other things is equipment like hardware and software to established digital archive are expensive. There give the challenger to the archivist to established the digital archive, they must have strong financial to do it. One of the challengers to establish digital archive is cost of time, to establish the digital archive , the archivist must have a lot of information in their hand and have a lot research to established it. From that to established one digital archive will spent a lot of time. For an example The Manheim City Archive, Germany. In their view in the Journal of Society of Archivist vol, 27, No 2, October 2006, 201-212. To established the digital archive they have to enquiry lot of information to established the digital archive, they also have a cooperation with university of Manheim to established the database.( for an example from end of years 1990s to 2005 to establish database FindStarOnline) From that example, we can look to established digital Archive is spent long time before the digital archive can fully operation.


Next is in the conflict between digital library and digital archive. Based from Journal of Archival Organization, Vol.2 (1/2)2004 by Streling Coleman,JR in the title “ The archival and library viewpoints of a collection in digital environment : Is there any room for compromise”. The author said in this article “in the rush to create these digital collection, academic librarians and archivist are coming into conflict over two fundamental questions that strike at the heart of collection development and collection management.” Based from this journal also First, these two institution, archivist and academic librarian worked as partner in meeting the information needs of their respective patrons as repositories for their respective research collections. However both of professions have struggled to define their respective social roles over past hundred years, a strong autonomous streak has developed between two former partners. The conflict is to define the meaning of collection in two entirely different way and they have different approaches toward arrangement of their respective collection. As we know archive held a older collection material that have the value, and library is keep the book, but library also keep the historical material or document, there show the conflict of collection in both institutions. Because of this different definition collection between archive and library, both of them keep the same materials (primary resource) and they digitalize the same material. From this journal also, author suggest the solution for digital archive and digital library. One solution is being to create a digital library and digital archives that would exist separately at a single at a single institution. This approach would allow librarians and archivist to build their respective digital repositories to their liking. Librarians could have a digital library that would provide it user with same ease of access as they enjoy with the print collection. Archivist also could have digital collection that would not arrange according to provenance, but also be reflective of the original order of the collection. One possible drawback to this separate arrangement may be an element of initial confusion that would come from a user who would have to cross between two different databases and interfaces to find the information they need. It is safe to say that most user prefer to go to one source or to access one catalog-on-line or print-to satisfy their information needs. While holding records between the two catalogs could be linked, there may be some difficulty in establishing this link if an archives and a library are using deferent forms of metadata and controlled vocabularies. Even with the benefit of a crosswalk that maps metadata between two different databases and set of shared controlled vocabularies, most new users that use the digital library or digital archive could find the process of locating the information they need.( adopted from sterling coleman, jr in The Archival And Library Viewpoints of a collection in a digital environment: Is there any room for compromise?)

The conclusion in this subtopic of the problem and challenge in digital archive, and the solution given, hoping that can help archivist to enhance the quality of digital archive.


Digital archive can help archival institution to more productive and efficient in this time and also for the future benefit. With we view all over the definition, the feature of digital archive, the advantages, the problem and challenger in digital archive with their solution. With view all subtopic above can conclude that digital archive is one of new technology methods for the archive, for make sure the record, document or data that have higher value can keep for long term and also digital archive have a more potential to promote people to using it because it easy to access and also can make people reducing their cost.


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