Recordkeeping Expectations & Practices

INLS 525: Managing Electronic Records

Week 5 (2/12)

The Data Flood

It is not the onset of amnesia that accounts for present difficulties but a more complete recall than any prior generation has ever experienced. Steady recovery, not obliteration, accumulation, rather than loss, have led to the present impasse.

— Eisenstein (1979)

Print Flood vs. Digital Flood


As a duplicating machine ... its real power was to make [texts] stable... Print was trustworthy, reliable, and permanent.


All forms of knowledge achieved stability and permanence, not because paper was more durable than papyrus but simply because there were many copies. (pg. 400)


[O]ur digital universe is replete with bits of data that exist but for a moment — enough time for our eyes or ears to ingest the information before the bits evaporate into a nonexistent digital dump.

"Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

Storage in Exabytes

A Decade of Digital Universe Growth: Storage in Exabytes. 2005 is <0 EB, 2010 is ~ 1000EB, and 2015 is projected to be just < 8000EB

IDC's Digital Universe Study, sponsored by EMC, June 2011

Growth Paradox

The Digital Universe Growth Paradox: Falling Cost and Rising Investment.

IDC's Digital Universe Study, sponsored by EMC, June 2011

Strategies for Coping

When information is cheap, attention becomes expensive. (pg. 410)

One may lose the ability to impose order on the chaos of sensations. The truth seems harder to find amid the multitude of plausible fictions. (pg. 403)



Digital Lives: 12 Observations

  1. InfoEthics
  2. Authenticity, Forensics & Emulation
  3. Enhanced Curatorship
  4. Training & Guidelines
  5. iCuration
  6. Collaboration & Integration
  7. Participation & Advanced Cataloguing
  8. From Lifetracking to Personalised Usability
  9. Archival PIM & Archives in the Wild
  10. Adaptive Curation & Management
  11. Evolutionary dynamics & complex networks
  12. Advocacy

"Manuscript" Materials


"It's basically like giving someone the keys to your house,"
— Kirschenbaum

PDA Institutional Responsibilities

  1. Garnering selections of personal archives
  2. Providing enhanced security and access for the most culturally and scientifically valuable personal archives
  3. Guardians of the authenticity of the originals including digital objects in the wild
  4. Providing services that strengthen and assist the effectiveness of archives in the wild
  5. Developing an expertise in the content of archives in the wild as well as the repositories own holdings.

Personal Recordkeeping & E-Manuscripts

Institutional Recordkeeping

Business Records


Call to Action



Government Records


Automation will not solve the problem of lack of priority, which is of long standing.

Institutional Recordkeeping

Documenting Humanity