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Introduction to eRecords Management
Technology and the “electronic revolution” has a substantial impact on the way governments conduct business and present challenges for capturing, preserving, managing, storing and making accessible electronic records.

Significant amounts of critical electronic data have already been lost. As government records are increasingly generated and stored in computer-based information systems, the state faces the challenge of managing and preserving these digital documents. Many are critical to the survival of Indiana's history and culture, captured in the day-to-day business of government.

Long-term preservation of electronic records is difficult due to the rapid pace of change in technology. It is estimated that every two years computing power and storage density doubles. As this happens, the technology “evolves” often into something no longer compatible with older generations of hardware and software (remember 5-inch floppies?).

To compound this generation gap, older software, almost always proprietary, is often no longer supported by the original company, if it is even still in business! Additionally, the media on which the electronic record is written (hard drive, CD, floppy disc, punch cards, tape, etc.) decays with time. Eventually the media itself must be replaced.

In order to maintain electronic records for the long term, one must either:

  • preserve the original hardware, software and media or
  • convert the electronic record to an open file format and continually migrate the media to the “latest and greatest” technology

The digital archives has chosen to do both. Original files will be offloaded to tape and protected to prevent alteration, while an open file format version will be presented on the web for future use.
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