Building a Future for Our Digital Memory: A Collaborative Infrastructure for Permanent Access to Digital Heritage in The Netherlands

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This article describes the developments in The Netherlands to establish a national Network for Digital Heritage. This network is based on three pillars: to make the digital heritage visible, usable, and sustainably preserved. Three working programs will have their own but integrated set of dedicated actions in order to create a national infrastructure in The Netherlands, based on an optimal use of existing facilities. In this article the focus is on the activities related to the sustainable preservation of the Dutch national digital heritage.

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Despite the availability of guidelines, standards, and software developed by national archives, professional associations, research groups and commercial organizations, digital records are still a challenge to manage, especially in Africa. A number of digitization projects undertaken by archival organizations in Africa failed to realize their goals of ensuring preservation and access of records. This is partially due to lack of strategies to migrate from analog to digital records. This study explored the strategies adopted by the African National Congress (ANC) in digitizing its liberation archives with the aim of capturing lessons learnt. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with purposively selected employees of the ANC, MultiChoice, Africa Media Online, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation as they were involved in the digitization project of the liberation archives. The results revealed that the ANC established an archives management committee to lead the implementation of digitization of the liberation archives. Furthermore, the ANC relied heavily on the companies MultiChoice and Africa Media Online, as its archivists were not trained for the digitization of archives. A number of lessons learnt with regard to the digitization of liberations archives are captured. The study concludes by demonstrating the importance of having a strategy in digitizing archival holdings. It is recommended that this study should be extended to other liberation movements in eastern and southern Africa. Furthermore, a study on determining the authenticity of digitized liberation archives is recommended.
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