Major ‘memory organizations’ face significant challenges as the volume and variety of what is within their potential remit to collect grows. The digital turn has presented major challenges in developing routine ways of capturing and curating digital materials in many contexts. An Australian colleague pointed me to a joint statement and request for additional funding by the National Film and Sound Archive, National Archives of Australia, and National Library of Australia.
Digital has become the preferred medium for Australian government agencies, authors, researchers, film makers, musicians and creators. Increasingly, the primary evidence of public administration is created in digital form. The vast majority of film and television works, and virtually all music and recorded sound created in Australia are now released in digital form.
Australia ’s ability to maintain a permanent and accessible record of these activities is therefore linked to our preparedness to cope with this digital tidal wave of images and sounds. As the Collections Council of Australia noted in its background papers for the 2006 Summit on Digital Collections: “ The growth of digital information and the need to store, manage and preserve access is an issue of truly global proportions.” [Australia’s Cultural Heritage – A Digital Future]
As the scope of what such organizations have to do grows, as digital curation needs to become mainstream, and as they have already cut back where they can, the situation becomes more grave.
We’ve already lost many of our important moments and many of our creative ideas and cultural expressions. There is a danger that in ten years time Australians will look back at today as a digital dark-age. [Australia’s Cultural Heritage – A Digital Future]