What is Digital Preservation?

Digital preservation is the reliable storage of digital information for tens or even hundreds of years. The challenge of digital preservation is, that although hardware, software and file formats age, the information must still be kept usable. Digital preservation particularly involves retaining the comprehensibility of data and taking measures to preserve it, thus making it possible to use the data in the future. Digital preservation is based on the reliable preservation of bits, but this alone is not enough to guarantee the reusability of data by future generations. The long-term storage of data in digital form is not only a technical challenge – its success also requires functional, mental, skill-based, financial and legal capabilities.

The possibilities of digital data storage, digital preservation and, in particular reuse are key issues, as the volume of digital data is increasing with the introduction of new research instruments (such as gene sequencing equipment) as well as the organisation of research infrastructures and automation of data production. The ability to find, use and preserve this data forms the basis for establishing a digital research process.

Advantages and impact

  • makes it possible for future generations to use the data.
  • ensures that essential data is preserved.
  • ensures an unbroken chain of evidence in research data.
  • allows for seamless co-operation and the common use of data across organisational lines.
  • improves the possibilities for developing competence and reduces the human factor.
  • allows organisations using the data to focus on their core expertise.
  • improves the quality of processes and services.

The permanent service for preservation of cultural heritage data has been launched in 2014. The digital preservation service for research data is currently under development. During preparation of the service, it will be ensured that the original bit streams of data can be preserved unchanged and reproduced using contemporary devices. The rapid implementation of bit preservation ensures that the digital data possessed by organisations using it can be reliably preserved until the service is fully up and running.

The activity of the PAS working group operates under the wings of the Open Science and Research initiative during the spring 2014. The PAS working group has a mandate to carry on its work at least until the end of 2014.

More information on digital preservation solution in Finnish