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British Library to Archive E-mails.

The British Library has started archiving e-mails and electronic data. In addition to the millions of books and paper documents the library now holds, digital documents will soon begin making their way into the library's storage, including everything from scientific thoughts to authors' musings.

According to Jeremy John, the British Library's curator of digital documents, the digital archive will initially be available via a stand-alone computer in one of the library's reading rooms. John said he hoped the public will eventually be able to access the documents over a network.

The British Library has procedures to check the authenticity of the digital archive and has measures in place to prevent the documents from becoming corrupted. Multiple copies of the files are made in various formats and different batches of CDs are used to further prevent corruption. The library also uses file compression technology to yield unique identifiers and "rigorous audit trails" that record what happens to the files over the decades.

John sees a move toward more electronic archiving, adding that he expects the British Library to catalogue instant-messaging conversations in the future.

Soon, the library's electronic archives may be available online. The U.K. government is seeking an IT partner to set up online access to all archive material. It has begun searching for IT suppliers to create a single online gateway for all archival holdings in the United Kingdom. The Linking Arms project aims to promote online access to archive material held locally, regionally, and nationally by libraries, museums, and in private collections. A range of material will be available as film clips, catalog data, digital records, and digitized images. The project also plans to include interactive features, allowing people to contribute to their own information and to search for and download material on personalized history. Key features include:

* An Internet one-stop shop for heritage resources from community groups

* Sections for online exhibitions and "special interest zones"

* "Your story" section allowing people to add their own archive material

Work is set to begin early in 2005 with a "demonstrator" service. A full service is scheduled to be developed in stages from 2006 to 2009.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Up front: news, trends & analysis
Author:Swartz, Nikki
Publication:Information Management Journal
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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