Excuse Me... Some Digital Preservation Fallacies?
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A number of common assertions, or perhaps assumptions, about digital preservation have begun to worry me. No one person has said all these things, but increasingly they seem to be in the background of conversations. I will put these forwards as a list of statements, but, in some respects at least, I think they are fallacies: 1. Digital preservation is very expensive [because] 2. File formats become obsolete very rapidly [which means that] 3. Interventions must occur frequently, ensuring that continuing costs remain high. 4. Digital preservation repositories should have very long timescale aspirations, 5. ‘Internet-age’ expectations are such that the preserved object must be easily and instantly accessible in the format de jour, and 6. The preserved object must be faithful to the original in all respects. These statements seem reasonable, and perhaps they are. However, I feel we might benefit from a rather jaundiced look at them. So that is what I thought I would attempt for this article. Beware, the arguments presented here are not settled in my mind; indeed this is to some extent part of an argument with myself!