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Memento : Issue 28
8 MEMENTO News from the National Archives In September 2004, as part of the Digital Recordkeeping Initiative, the National Archives held a one-day conference entitled 'Advances in Digital Preservation' in Canberra. Launched in May last year, the initiative aims to develop and promote a single Australasian approach to digital public recordkeeping and to encourage communication and information sharing between members. The conference brought together speakers and practitioners from the UK, the USA, New Zealand and Australia, to discuss recent developments and approaches to preserving digital material. Delegates represented govern- ment agencies, academic institutions and research bodies, commercial software vendors, and professional organisations from the recordkeeping, archival, and information management sectors. The conference was opened by National Archives Director-General Ross Gibbs who spoke of the importance of preserving digital material around the world. Andrew McDonald, from the UK and the retiring chair of the International Council on Archives Committee on Current Records in Electronic Form, gave an excellent overview of the work of the committee and an entertaining view of the progress of digital preservation. Fynette Eaton, from the US National Archives and Records Administration, talked about their complex Electronic Records Archives project. National Archives of Australia's Assistant Director-General Stephen Ellis discussed the establishment, scope and aims of our Digital Record- keeping Initiative. The final speaker before lunch was Richard Marciano from the San Diego Supercomputer Center in the US, who spoke about a number of thought-provoking digital preservation projects they were undertaking in conjunction with a number of US archival and academic institutions. The afternoon session had a particularly Australian flavour. Liz Reuben gave an account of the digital preservation work being undertaken by the Department of Family and Community Services. Howard Quenault provided delegates with an update on the Victorian Electronic Records Strategy and urged greater global cooperation and collaboration to provide solutions to digital preservation issues. Finally, Cornel Platzer and Andrew Wilson discussed the National Archives' approach to digital preservation and demonstrated Xena, a revolutionary software application the Archives has developed to migrate digital records into archival data formats. The conference closed with a lively question and answer session which touched on a number of significant issues for those working in the area of digital preservation, such as authenticity, integrity, scalability and metadata requirements. It provided a valuable opportunity for colleagues and experts in the digital preservation field to share their experiences and to identify issues for further discussion and collaborative action. Keeping it digital Attending the 'Advances in Digital Preservation' conference (left to right above) Dr Andrew Wilson (National Archives of Australia), Justine Heazlewood (Public Record Office of Victoria), Dianne Macaskill (NZ), Janet Prowse (Queensland State Archives), Dr Andrew McDonald (UK), Fynette Eaton (USA), Ross Gibbs (National Archives of Australia), Dr Stephen Ellis (National Archives of Australia), Dr Richard Marciano (USA), Liz Reuben (Family and Community Services). These days an ever-increasing quantity of information is created, stored, disseminated and accessed in digital form. It is vital that the organisations responsible for preserving and making available cultural and intellectual heritage -- such as archives, libraries, museums and galleries -- develop strategies to ensure the preservation of, and access to, digital material.