Under-appreciated Threats to the  Long-term Preservation of  Electronic Archival Records               David Bearman   Arc...
UN ACCIS Report 1990• Risk Management approach• Applied to Policy-, Technology- and  Standards-based e-records strategies•...
Threats• Natural and Social Environment• Capturing Records• New Genres of Communication
Environmental risks   are probably  underestimated
What does one chancein 10,000 years mean      for policy?
National Weather Service North Georgia            9.7 inches = 5000-year rain event            10 inches = 10,000-year rai...
Tsunami, Japan 12/03/2011
Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station:Flood Berm Collapses At Nebraska Nuke Plant26/06/2011
Wildfire threatens Los Alamos lab          29/06/2011
Policy Conundrum• How many types of risks are assessed?• When each has a 1 : 10,000 yr. chance of occurrence, how rare doe...
Unusual Threats• These don’t get assessed yet historically they have occurred• e.g., Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) events
Aurora Borealis, 36° 30 N       06/04/2000
“The red light was so vividthat the roofs of thehouses and the leaves ofthe trees appeared as ifcovered with blood”Aurora ...
Low Occurrence, High   Impact Events•   Carrington Event, September 2, 1859•   Tunguska event, June 30, 1908•   Disintegra...
Social Institutions aremore fragile than we      appreciate
Social Institutionswe take for granted are  surprisingly young
<200 yrs                                           Professional sport teams       National Museums or Archives            ...
Significant Social Institutions          have died     in the past century
Ticker tape                                                            Mechanics Institutes                         Passen...
Some Important Social Institutions that are   likely to die soon
Stock exchanges?                      Personal cheques?                                          National Postal Services?...
Depending onSocial Institutions forPerpetual Support is         Risky
Preserving Records• Non-records don’t become records by keeping them
Preserving Records•   If all records aren’t captured,    what is captured is suspect
Preserving Records•   If capture, use and appraisal    metadata doesn’t persist for    all records, retained records    ar...
Yet...• We aren’t typically capturing records at  creation• We are only appraising some records• Metadata about use is not...
Capture at Creation• Service Oriented Architecture• User profiles and context metadata• Instantaneous scheduling and dispos...
New Genres OfCommunication
1  generation was     st   analogous to paper• e-mail had content and metadata of a  letter• e-transactions took place in ...
New Genres• Dropbox - asynchronous cloud based  communications• Facebook status - social media  permitted views• Monitorin...
The Issues• Content stays in the cloud, not local• Permissions metadata not managed by  us• Receipt only potential• Viewin...
Metadata we have    relied on forrecordness may soon    be inherentlyunavailable except at      creation
Thank You  David Bearman dbear@archimuse.com
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David Bearman, Under-appreciated Threats to the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Archival Records

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A presentation to CITRA (ICA), Toledo, Spain, October 26, 2011.

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  • Thank you Martin and thanks to the program committee \nit was brave of them to invite a known provacateur\nI&amp;#x2019;m not an archivist - spent 7 years working on e-records 1989-1996\nStarted by writing UN ACCIS Report\n
  • nothing specific about solutions proposed is valid today - lesson 1\npolicy definitively ruled out due to false mental models in workplace, \nlike trying to fix a car\n
  • Martin given us 25 minutes so we need to move on\nI will be in coffee break after and happy to answer questions then\n
  • show = go on quickly\n
  • show = go on quickly\n
  • note 16.7 inches is OFF THE CHART RISK\n
  • Built the pumps below water level with high walls based on 1:10,000\n
  • \n
  • another recent example\n
  • If you are the Archivist of the US, and have thousands of data centers \nand 10 risks (flood, fire, tornado, earthquake, terror etc) each\nsomething will happen every year\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Early days of telecommunications - telegraph operators ran without\nbatteries for 8 hours. Today it would obliterate magnetic memories.\nNote National Geographic video and US military reports three years ago\n
  • Point is these events are much more likely than your mental model\n of 1:10,000 suggests\n
  • I&amp;#x2019;ll use Western excamples here because orthodox problem statement\nand solutions of arcjval practice are based in them, showing how \nproblemmatic they are\n
  • \n
  • less than 200 years\n&amp;#x2022;National museums or archives\n&amp;#x2022;Professional sport teams\n&amp;#x2022;State schools\nless than 100 years\n&amp;#x2022;Passports necessary for travel\n&amp;#x2022;credit cards\n&amp;#x2022;Income tax \n&amp;#x2022;the Electric &amp;#x2018;Grid&amp;#x2019;\n&amp;#x2022;Hospital emergency room\n\n
  • \n
  • &amp;#x2022;Ticker tape\n&amp;#x2022;Mechanics Institutes\n&amp;#x2022;The Telephone Exchange\n&amp;#x2022;Passenger ships (replaced by cruise lines)\n&amp;#x2022;Colonial Administrations\n&amp;#x2022;Subscription Libraries\n&amp;#x2022;Stage coach\n\n
  • \n
  • &amp;#x2022;Note Research Library is central to the &amp;#x201C;Trusted Digital Repository&amp;#x201D;\nPremise of archivbal theory is Weberian bureaucracy in nation state both of which are disappearing\n
  • \n
  • Western National Archives I know are NOT keeping e-records\n
  • If we don&amp;#x2019;t know hat&amp;#x2019;s missing what is left is an editorioal choice\n
  • \n
  • unless we capture at creation (note conflict with InterPares) the architecture\n of the system is wrong. Detailed specification and expensive systems\nsince 2000 jusr prove how impportant the right architecture is\n
  • Paper last year in Santiago de Compestella - availbale in Spamnish as well\nthanks ro Alejandro Delgado\nBuilds on Moments of Risk paper in Archivaria about 5 years ago\n
  • Happenimg everywhere - maybe mosr impressively outside Western world\nkids in Japan witnh QR codes; woment in India using cell phones as \nticker tape to monitor market prices; sub-Saharan Africa cash on cellphone\n
  • We developed early ideas by (false) analogy - mental models\n
  • ubiquitous cloud based web service computing will lead to many more\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • I hope that if you found an idea in what I said that intrigued you,\nyou will try it out on your colleagues. And if you have questions,\nyou&amp;#x2019;ll raise them with me at the coffee break\n
  • David Bearman, Under-appreciated Threats to the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Archival Records

    1. 1. Under-appreciated Threats to the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Archival Records David Bearman Archives & Museum Informatics, Toronto
    2. 2. UN ACCIS Report 1990• Risk Management approach• Applied to Policy-, Technology- and Standards-based e-records strategies• Established user mental models as problem in policy oriented solutions• Technical risk factors based on different architectures than now
    3. 3. Threats• Natural and Social Environment• Capturing Records• New Genres of Communication
    4. 4. Environmental risks are probably underestimated
    5. 5. What does one chancein 10,000 years mean for policy?
    6. 6. National Weather Service North Georgia 9.7 inches = 5000-year rain event 10 inches = 10,000-year rain eventRecorded 16.7 inches, Douglasville GA, 21/09/2009
    7. 7. Tsunami, Japan 12/03/2011
    8. 8. Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station:Flood Berm Collapses At Nebraska Nuke Plant26/06/2011
    9. 9. Wildfire threatens Los Alamos lab 29/06/2011
    10. 10. Policy Conundrum• How many types of risks are assessed?• When each has a 1 : 10,000 yr. chance of occurrence, how rare does that make them?
    11. 11. Unusual Threats• These don’t get assessed yet historically they have occurred• e.g., Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) events
    12. 12. Aurora Borealis, 36° 30 N 06/04/2000
    13. 13. “The red light was so vividthat the roofs of thehouses and the leaves ofthe trees appeared as ifcovered with blood”Aurora Borealis, San Salvador 13°40N 02/09/1859
    14. 14. Low Occurrence, High Impact Events• Carrington Event, September 2, 1859• Tunguska event, June 30, 1908• Disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica in three weeks, 2002• Collapse of Cumbre Vieja into the Atlantic, near future?• A massive EMP event like 1859,1921 - near future?
    15. 15. Social Institutions aremore fragile than we appreciate
    16. 16. Social Institutionswe take for granted are surprisingly young
    17. 17. <200 yrs Professional sport teams National Museums or Archives State schools<100 yrsPassports as necessary for travel Income tax the Electric ‘Grid’ Credit cards Hospital emergency room
    18. 18. Significant Social Institutions have died in the past century
    19. 19. Ticker tape Mechanics Institutes Passenger shipsThe Telephone Exchange Stage coach Colonial Administrations Subscription Libraries
    20. 20. Some Important Social Institutions that are likely to die soon
    21. 21. Stock exchanges? Personal cheques? National Postal Services? Daily print Newspapers?Research Libraries? Broadcast radio and tv? Nuclear Power Industry?
    22. 22. Depending onSocial Institutions forPerpetual Support is Risky
    23. 23. Preserving Records• Non-records don’t become records by keeping them
    24. 24. Preserving Records• If all records aren’t captured, what is captured is suspect
    25. 25. Preserving Records• If capture, use and appraisal metadata doesn’t persist for all records, retained records are suspect
    26. 26. Yet...• We aren’t typically capturing records at creation• We are only appraising some records• Metadata about use is not required by most records capture architectures• Metadata on disposed records is often not kept
    27. 27. Capture at Creation• Service Oriented Architecture• User profiles and context metadata• Instantaneous scheduling and disposal• Vastly Distributed Storage
    28. 28. New Genres OfCommunication
    29. 29. 1 generation was st analogous to paper• e-mail had content and metadata of a letter• e-transactions took place in our systems• e-transmissions retained locally on receipt
    30. 30. New Genres• Dropbox - asynchronous cloud based communications• Facebook status - social media permitted views• Monitoring/sensing data - may or may not ever be accessed
    31. 31. The Issues• Content stays in the cloud, not local• Permissions metadata not managed by us• Receipt only potential• Viewing leaves no trace
    32. 32. Metadata we have relied on forrecordness may soon be inherentlyunavailable except at creation
    33. 33. Thank You David Bearman dbear@archimuse.com
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