East Riding Archives - responsible for safeguarding and making available the documentary heritage of the East Riding of Yorkshire - have just selected an automated digital archiving solution called Preservica, and launched a new site, offering access to a new public digital archive.
The Archives service oversees a vast collection of records dating from 1185 right up to the present day.
With over 400,000 historic items, most of the archive is based on paper, parchment, and other traditional methods of manuscript recording, but over the past 25 years or so, the way that society records information has changed dramatically.
With the world constantly advancing with digital technology, there is a significant risk that valuable records may be lost or damaged over time. While it is possible to preserve information written on traditional paper or parchment, such as old letters, wills, or even conventional photos and maps, by carefully storing them, in the case of digital information, nothing could be further from the truth. As technology advances, many digital archives can become incompatible and lost from the database.
Preservica can actively curate incoming digital items by converting them into the most suitable file formats for preservation. It also comes with online access that links to the archive catalogue. This allows local history researchers to access this information easily from their homes, for free.
Sam Bartle, East Riding archivist, said: "Preservica is the leading solution in digital archive preservation and has been adopted worldwide by prestigious organisations such as Yale University, HSBC, The National Archives, BT, and Transport For London. Now, East Riding Archives is proud to announce itself as the first local authority archives in Yorkshire to launch its public interface through Preservica."
Councillor Mike Medini, portfolio holder for cultural and leisure assets, added: "The database will transform the archive service's ability to preserve digital archives to international standards, giving users access to a limited range of so-called 'born' digital material online for the first time. Without systems like Preservica, there's a real danger that the data we store away in our vaults for posterity will become obsolete and unreadable over very long periods of time, resulting in a digital 'Black Hole' in the story of our society."
The new public Digital Archive can be accessed at https://eastriding.access.preservica.com It is now possible to browse the wide range of material available, from recent and past events to information and images showing the East Riding community, landmarks, and businesses over the years.
For more information about Preservica, how the digital archive works, which industries are using it and how, visit www.preservica.com.