Feeds

National Archives and MS strike preservation deal

Shining light on the 'digital dark age'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The National Archives (TNA) and Microsoft have come to an arrangement to support long term access to digital documents.

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Microsoft will provide TNA with a system that combines previous versions of Windows and Office to help solve problems of managing historical records based on legacy formats.

In return, TNA will contribute its experience in digital preservation as input to the company's future product development. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure that information is retained and kept accessible in the face of rapid digital and technological change, avoiding what Microsoft calls "a new digital dark age".

TNA will make use of Microsoft's Virtual PC 2007, which makes it possible to run multiple operating systems at the same time on the same computer. This will allow it to configure any combination of Windows and Office from one PC, thereby allowing access to practically any document based on legacy Microsoft file formats.

Staff and visitors at TNA will be able to view historical information based on legacy formats in the way the author intended. TNA will also be able to make these documents more accessible by converting the information to new, open file formats.

Prior to signing the agreement, TNA's chief executive Natalie Ceeney said: "We are living in a world that is a ticking timebomb with regard to digital preservation. Public accountability is enshrined in the way we work. It is essential we have longevity in information to ensure this accountability is maintained."

Explaining that most content written today is on Microsoft platforms, she added that the partnership was only the "start of a journey" but still "a phenomenal step forward in bringing digital preservation into the mainstream".

She also said that the arrangement was not about creating digital assets: "This is not an ownership challenge but a migration and accessibility challenge."

Microsoft said the partnership reflects the efforts it has made to move away from a proprietary model. The latest releases of Office use the Open XML format, which is under the independent control of Ecma – an industry association dedicated to the standardisation of ICT systems.

"Microsoft took the step to implement XML based file formats that unlock data in documents, allowing them to be archived, restructured, aggregated and re-used in new and dynamic ways," said Gordon Frazer, UK managing director and vice president of Microsoft International.

"Our MoU with TNA will go beyond this and ensure that decisions we make in future products will meet the rigorous requirements of digital preservation. It is about tackling the potential of a digital dark age and to make sure that doesn't become a reality".

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.