Q. What is the type of data that digital preservation programs, including EFGAMP, aim to safeguard?
A. The purpose of these programs is to preserve all existing data in digital form, including but not limited to: websites, e-mail, video games, traffic, social networking, institutional repositories, audiovisual content, research data, etc..
Q. What are the main means and strategies used in the field of digital preservation?
A. There are various solutions that are commonly used, and new ones are constantly being invented and tested. One of the most common is the emulation, or the reconstruction of the original way of fruition of the data which need to be preserved. Among the others, there is also replication, which aims to create exact copies of the same data in order to expand their durability, or migration, which means to transfer data to new and more modern environments.
Q. What is the role occupied by video games in the field of digital preservation?
A. Video games fall within the broad category of digital data and pose a further challenge in regard to their preservation over time. Unlike what happens for a simple audiovisual, a video game also poses the need to successfully replicate its operation on an interactive level, so as to adequately retain the original experience intact. Among EFGAMP members there are different entities fully dedicated to video games, thus making the Federation pose a particular regard to this type of digital artifacts.
Q. Which are the main difficulties posed by digital preservation?
A. The biggest challenges are mainly the amount of data that must be preserved, which grows in direct exponential to the rise of new types of support (just think of what the birth of the Web may have led to in terms of growth in data products). In addition, the preservation programs require large financial investments to be designed, managed and carried on during time.
Q. What are the advantages of taking part in the digital preservation challenge ?
A. Mainly, it is not to lose a boundless digital heritage, fruit of human effort and of the labour of thousands of people around the world. It is a challenge whose greatest benefits will be experienced by those who come after us, but also a major concern to deal with strategies which needs to be developed even now, to avoid the risk of being unprepared.
Q. What is the concept of cultural preservation?
A. Beside the digital preservation approached from a purely technical point of view, there is also the need for a cultural preservation, or the infrastructure delegated to the conservation and public disclosure of the contents related to the software and hardware of the past . Throughout the world there are museums that display technological artifacts of great value to the public and tell the history and evolution of the entire computer industry.
Q. What is a digital archive?
A. A digital archive, in much the same way of a library, is a place where digital data is stored and cataloged within the database, whether in a physical or electronic way . In some cases, these records are made available for public consultation and disclosure.
Q. What is the meaning of digital obsolescence?
A. The term ”digital obsolescence” defines a case in which a digital asset is no longer accessible since the hardware or the software originally designed to read it is no longer available. This is the inevitable consequence of computer science progress and of the machines’ exponentially higher performance over time.
Q. What is the meaning of the term “emulation”?
A. With the term “emulation” is described the construction of a working replica of an obsolete system, on which can then be run data otherwise inaccessible through modern systems. A very simple example can be video games emulators, which allow, for example, to play games developed for DOS systems on a modern computer.
Q. What is intended with the term “digital dark age”?
A. With “digital dark age” means a possible future scenario where the only remaining copies of historical documents in electronic format are stored in file systems obsolete and unknown, making them impossible to recover by modern systems.
Q. What is the meaning of “digital sustainability”?
A. The term digital sustainability means all this sphere of activities that focus less on research and development of permanent solutions in the field of digital preservation, but rather on the approach that can be undertaken in the present and will allow easier access to data in the future, facilitating for example the communication and interoperability between systems and formats of different types.