The preservation of digital records is not a new endeavour taken on by archives across the world, however, preserving digital files pose unique challenges.
The risk of media such as compact discs, digital video discs, flash drives and external hard drives degrading is high, files are reliant on software and hardware to be viewed and read which can quickly become obsolete.
In addition to the risk of digital media, hardware and software becoming obsolete, the volume of files received by the Archives has quickly overshadowed that of paper acquisitions. Devoting appropriate time, therefore, has also become an obstacle to the preservation of the digital content.
In January 2021 the United Church of Canada Archives launched its digital preservation system to help mitigate loss and address some of the media and technological obsolescence issues we face. The system will help us monitor files for degradation and enable us to take action.
Digital preservation, though, is more than just systems and technology. It’s about policies, people, education, strategies and action.
Although there is still a lot of work ahead, The United Church of Canada Archives is committed to fulfill its mandate to preserve the digital records of the General Council Office and the Ontario Regional Councils.
Below you will find digital initiatives being worked on for Communities of Faith, Regional Councils, General Council and private records.