Government Product News recently sat down with Tameran President and CEO Mark Wise for a conversation about data storage trends, recordkeeping strategies, and long-term preservation of digital documents. The magazine provides city, county and state officials with news, government trends, policy alternatives and operational information. This blog contains a portion of the interview and a video with tips for archiving data and records. You can read the entire article by clicking on “Tried and true data backup technology: Microfilm.”
GPN: Why is digital recordkeeping not suited for long-term data storage?
MW: Digital is great for quick distribution, but it’s not the safest way to store data and records and make sure you have absolute access to it. The same goes for government records. Can you imagine what society would be like if governments couldn’t produce the records that deal with titles to property, land records and real estate transactions? Digital is very powerful. It’s very quick, it’s very convenient, but it is very susceptible to problems, including man-made problems. Digital is susceptible to hackers. Malfeasance or incompetence of employees can lead to lost data and records that are digitally stored. In addition, digital records need to be migrated over time, and if they are not properly migrated and properly stored, government agencies can have a problem.
GPN: Do you have any advice for government administrators? Should they hang onto their microfilm readers if they still have them?
MW: I wouldn’t get rid of the microfilm setup if a government agency still has one. I would also continue maintaining that microfilm equipment. Today, you can convert microfilm to a digital format when you need it by scanning, and that’s a very common technology.
It’s also important for government agencies to take their digital data and documents, information that was digitally created, and record the documents onto microfilm for long-term archiving. Service bureaus like Tameran Graphic Systems can handle the process for governments and other organizations. We have a guide, “Protecting Public Records in an Online Era,” that has tips on safeguard and archiving digital documents.