The way we record and store information is constantly changing – from paper, to hybrid documents such as digitised surrogates, to born-digital records such as emails and digital photographs.
Digital storage is more delicate than paper, parchment or stone. A stone tablet locked behind museum glass has inherent value if you can read and understand the language; this is not the case with digital material, which relies on contingent hardware and software to remain accessible. Therefore, it is vital that digital information is managed in a systematic way.
Digital continuity is the ability to use information in the way you need, for as long as you need. Information is usable if you can find it, open it, work with it, understand it and trust it.
Imagine if you couldn’t find information requested by your minister for a public inquiry or parliamentary questions because it was saved in an unsupported format. Imagine if you couldn’t claim pension benefits because your records were mismanaged and became corrupted. Imagine if the servers that held the only copies of your company’s records were destroyed by a natural disaster or sabotage.