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The Future of Digital Content: DPC sets out agenda to save the UK’s digital heritage and information



The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) announced today that it is hosting a launch reception at the House of Commons on Wednesday 27th February 2002 as part of its activities to highlight digital preservation, and the work of the Coalition and its members. The evening will raise awareness of the importance of urgent and concerted action to ensure future access to the UK’s digital cultural heritage and information.




Preservation of digital culture and information is now recognised internationally as a major challenge and issue, with calls to action being issued by organisations such as UNESCO and government bodies such as the US Congress.




Over the past decade, the conversion of many types of content into digital formats has resulted in a massive increase in its accessibility. However, this accessibility only exists for material which is current: digital content which is no longer contemporary is in danger of being lost for ever.




The fragility of digital media, the need to develop new skills and expertise, and above all the inevitable technological obsolescence of digital storage techniques combine to create a formidable series of challenges. If the status quo is maintained, there is a very real danger that much of the informational content available online and in other digital forms will be inaccessible for future generations.




The challenges involved in digital preservation are such that few individual institutions can address them independently. The DPC was formed in July 2001 to promote collaboration within the UK and internationally to address these issues and to develop solutions. It has been instrumental in promoting the importance of digital preservation, encouraging dialogue, and developing practice between the myriad stakeholders involved, from content providers to publishers to archiving organisations.




Key speakers at the House of Commons launch include broadcaster and author Loyd Grossman (Chairman of the Campaign for Museums and a commissioner for Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries), Rosie Winterton, MP, Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor’s Department and Lynne Brindley, Chair of the DPC and Chief Executive of the British Library.




The reception will provide attendees with an understanding of the importance and urgency of action to save digital materials, and offer practical suggestions as to how institutions, policy makers and opinion-formers can themselves ensure that digital preservation is placed high on the agenda.






Notes to editors:




1) The DPC is a consortium of 17 major UK organisations which aims to ensure that digital archiving is kept on the policy agenda. Information about its work can be found at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/dner/preservation . Organisations on the board of the DPC include the British Library, Consortium of University Research Libraries, Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher and Further Education Funding Councils (JISC), National Archives of Scotland, OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), Public Record Office, Public Record Office for Northern Ireland, Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, and the University of London Computer Centre.



2) For UNESCO and digital preservation activities discussed at its 31st annual conference meeting see: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001239/123975e.pdf


Information about the US Congress Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program can be found at http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2001/01-006.html


3) Further information about the reception and other related events during the week beginning 25th February can be obtained from Anna Arthur PR on 020 7637 2994/anna@aapr.co.uk







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