A Digital Divide?

12 May, 2010

My attention was drawn this week to the PLANETS White Paper, The Digital Divide - Assessing Organisations’ Preparations for Digital Preservation, which summarises the findings of a Market Survey last year of 200 organisations around the world.  My interest was particularly focused because of a similar survey conducted by the DCC in late 2009, which examined the presence of institutional curation and preservation policies in Scotland’s universities. 

There was a marked difference in the recorded results.  Whereas 93% of the PLANETS respondents indicated that their organisation is aware of the challenges of managing digital information for the long-term, with 76% including it in their operational planning, 71% making it a feature of their business continuity planning and 62% incorporating it in their financial planning, the DCC survey concluded that there are no institutional preservation policies in place within Scottish universities (i.e. policies approved by Senate or Executive), with only four institutions having working preservation policies in place as a component of repository operations. 

I find it hard to believe that Scottish universities are that different from similar institutions elsewhere both in the UK and globally.  The difference in results perhaps derives from the number of responses by ‘memory institutions’, such as national archives and national libraries, who one might expect to have a more custodial agenda than the access rationale being tossed around the research data arena.  But it does set us a bar… 


Policy rich or policy poor?

Yes, that's quite a contrast. It would be interesting for someone to look at the data, population surveyed and question wording to determine whether the two surveys can be compared, or if they're measuring apples & oranges. It would be good to have an authoritative benchmark in the field.