Today’s digital records for future generations

On Monday 3rd August 2015, Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for Science and Innovation, visited Queensland State Archives to announce the imminent release of a worldwide “Expression of Interest” to build the Queensland Government’s first Digital Archive. The digital archive will provide Queensland State Archives with a means of managing long-term the rapidly growing volume of digital public records. As the Minister noted, ‘this is a giant step towards finding an innovative, flexible and sustainable solution to preserving and providing access to the state’s digital archival records’.

During its day-to-day administration the Queensland Government has accumulated an enormous amount of digital information that has been difficult for Queenslanders to access. Acting State Archivist Adrian Cunningham elaborated that ‘the public sector holds around 40 petabytes of data, some of which needs to be kept for 50 to 100 years, and that’s doubling every 15 months’.

  Minister Enoch at Queensland State Archives speaking with Acting State Archivist Mr Adrian Cunningham


Minister Enoch at Queensland State Archives speaking with Acting State Archivist Mr Adrian Cunningham

‘Printing just one petabyte would use enough paper to stretch from Brisbane to Emerald, printing 40 petabytes of data would stretch approximately from Brisbane to London and back. The Digital Archive will be designed for an online, mobile and digitally enabled Queensland. It will also ensure that today’s government records will be available for the use of future generations,’ Adrian continued.

Next month will see commencement of the interactive procurement process with Queensland State Archives inviting Expressions of Interest from companies to help build a world-class Digital Archive.

Minister Enoch inspecting land records with Andrea Everitt from the Community and Personal Histories Unit of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

Minister Enoch inspecting land records with Andrea Everitt from the Community and Personal Histories Unit of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

‘Ensuring access to all this digital information into the future is a difficult task, and that is why the Government is calling on innovative companies to work with Queensland State Archives to supply the solutions we need to keep our records both safe and accessible’, Ms Enoch said.

Preserving digital information is difficult because it’s dependent on software, hardware and storage media, all of which eventually become obsolete. Storage media like DVDs or hard drives also degrade over time. The creation of a Digital Archive will allow us to address these issues, and maintain today’s records for future generations to come.

To learn more about what Queensland State Archives is doing to address the challenges of digital preservation, please visit our website at www.archives.qld.gov.au/Recordkeeping/DigitalContinuity

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