Unlocking the hidden value of archives
What is archiving?
Archiving is a process where inactive data, in any format, is securely stored and preserved for long period of time. Such information may – or may not be used in the future, but nonetheless should be stored for as long as possible.
It should be emphasized that archived, inactive data can be made active again, as the proposition of not being able to access stored information after a certain period of time sometimes dissuades organizations from archiving their records. However, archived data can be stored in a number of ways and on a variety of devices.
What is an Archive?
An archive is an accumulation of unique records or the physical places they are located. Individuals and institutions warrant permanent preservation because of the value to their legal, administrative or fiscal purposes or to researchers because of their potential research value.
The majority of archived material is paper-based but archives also include:
- Maps, plans and drawings
- Audio and visual material
- Electronic formats
Why are archives important?
Archives are the raw material of history; they are primary sources that provide evidence of activities and information about individuals and community, thereby increasing our sense of orientation.
They ensure justice, as records aren’t generally created for future historical research and often provide a less biased account of events.
- Invaluable tools for historians
- A sign of transparency
There are multiple reasons how archives benefits our lives and the growing organizations
1. Prevents data loss
Information can be lost forever if it isn’t archived on a secure repository. With archived material, the risk of accidentally deleting, misplacing a file is covered. Archived data allows individuals to retrieve backup information independently without having to rely on the expertise of third parties.
2. Increases security
Many organizations accidentally dispose of documents that they legally should be keeping. Archives play as the main backup especially at a time when cyber attacks and data breaches are becoming more common-place.
3. Protection of records
Archives not only protect the object but also protect the interrelatedness, impartiality, authenticity and uniqueness of the object/document.
In the 21st century an overwhelming majority of newly created information is digital. The digital compilation of collecting institutions such as archives, libraries and repositories consist of either digitized or ‘born digital’ content.
The existing belief that digital objects can be managed using the same techniques and methodologies that were developed and used over years for physical objects is misconstrued. With digitization, objects are easier to copy, transfer and package.
Our personal documents and files are important to us as they record the details of our lives and define us. But increasingly, our possessions are no longer material: they’re digital. Digital files are encoded to represent text, images, audio, video and more. We can preserve our digital possessions and keep them safe and accessible for years to come, but we have to archive them and actively manage them.
Physical vs. Digital archiving
What are physical archives?
Physical archiving is a traditional method and usually refers to the process of archiving paper documents. Archiving important information like records, legal documents, customer files or conference paper in paper may not be a good idea. Multiple factors like moisture, mishandling or passage of time can all end up ruining important data.
There isn’t any guarantee that physical archives can even survive for a short time period. Although microforms were invented in the eighties, and are more durable than paper; they can be easily damaged because of their small size and further require bulky equipment to view the information
What is digital archiving?
With the invention of scanner, digital archiving came into being. Scanners are used to capture a digital image of a document that can be easily preserved and stored on a hard drive or a server. The biggest advantage of digital archiving is that your data cannot be tampered with. By opting for digital preservation, one can eliminate the need of bulky physical storage space as only virtual space is used in the process.
Mobile friendly apps such as CamScanner, Scanner Pro or Adobe scan have made digital archiving much easier in recent times. A scanned document can be saved in various formats, such as PDF, JPEG, TIFF or BMP. In addition to this, PDFs can be compressed to a very small size and made text searchable, which makes it easier to retrieve any information at any given time. Hence, organizations will never need to worry about finding any archived information.
Great reasons to go digital with your data
If document archiving is not one of your core competencies, you need not worry. Outsourcing document archiving to a service provider is simpler than ever. Outsourcing is not only cost-effective, but can also efficiently save your time and effort, which can be invested in your core business venture.
Here are the best benefits of outsourcing document archiving:
- Get cost-effective, time saving and accurate document archiving services
- Save on making investments in digital archiving technology or infrastructure
- Focus on your core business venture, by outsourcing document archiving to experts
- Get your archived information in any format of your choice- JPEG, TIFF, PDF or BMP
Notions of authenticity, originals and origins remain significant in the proficient practices of many communities. Archiving practices have evolved to ensure evidential value of records, however a clear understanding of the value and storage options will ensure that archives continue to convey context and communicate its importance to an ever-expanding audience for archived materials.
Archives are vital as much from the past as for our future.
Do you or your organization use any kind of preservation technology to preserve your archive collection? Do let us know.