Avoiding Technological Obsolescence

Hardware (all of the equipment required to maintain and use digital objects) and software (all of the off-the-shelf and in-house software programs and packages required to maintain and use digital objects) become obsolete at differing speeds, potentially leaving digital objects unusable or unreadable over time.

Avoiding technological obsolescence

Organizations may not be able to afford, or find it desirable, to move digital objects through every incremental change in versions of software, file formats, or storage device. Yet, incremental and staged moves forward as technology advances have to be anticipated and properly timed.

0101 Enabling good technological decisions to avoid or recover from obsolescence requires the active and ongoing tracking of the technology used by the organization and the relevant developments that will support organizational needs. Identifying timely, essential, and fortuitous acquisitions and upgrades is the ideal, sometimes fueled by luck.

$$$$ The organization needs short and long-term planning to respond to immediate needs and anticipate future requirements. Funding decisions for the digital preservation program need to be informed by organizational planning and technology monitoring. (See also the obsolescence sections of this tutorial.)


Look ahead towards the next 3-5 years.

1. Do you have digital assets stored on media that will need to be moved to more current storage?

2. Do your digital assets include file formats that have ceased to be supported?

3. Are your digital assets (or you repository) stored on a server that will need to be upgraded?

Begin to anticipate imminent and future needs. Perhaps you could partner with another organization to tackle these migrations, conversions, and upgrades in bulk to leverage skills and resources.