Library of Congress

Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Permanent Digital Access in the Netherlands

Interim report, A Future for Our Digital Memory: Permanent Access to Information in the NetherlandsOctober 1, 2009 -- The Netherlands Coalition for Digital Preservation (external link) sponsored a national conference in The Hague on September 18, 2009 to discuss its interim report, A Future for Our Digital Memory: Permanent Access to Information in the Netherlands (summary in English) (external link). Library of Congress staff member Abigail Potter served as the keynote speaker and shared lessons learned  from the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

Potter talked about the U.S. experience in coordinating a national digital preservation program and intersectoral collaboration. Her remarks (external link) (PDF), coupled with the NCDD interim report recommendations, promoted a lively discussion on strategy, roles and responsibilities and next steps in establishing a strong national environment for digital preservation and permanent access.

The Netherlands report is based on over 70 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors on the current state of digital preservation in the nation. It states that the government, scholarly and cultural heritage sectors each have their own reasons for needing to ensure long-term access to digital information but that permanent access will only occur where organizations have an explicit long-term mission and supporting structure to preserve information.

Guidelines to preserve digital information inspired both by international standards and local needs have been promulgated by each sector. Many projects to build repositories, establish trust and standards, share knowledge and expertise and manage information overtime have flourished in the Netherlands. However, impediments remain, including lack of awareness and expertise, shortage of structural funding and trustworthy storage capacity and not enough practical tools and services.

A national infrastructure for permanent access is the goal of the NCDD. By taking a coordinating role and facilitating collaboration across sectors and establishing a forum for dissemination of best practices, the NCDD will help to ensure organizations from the government, scholarly, and cultural heritage sectors in the Netherlands can fulfill their missions for permanent access.

A report from the NCDD board on next steps and strategy will come in late 2009.