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The Parsimonious Anthropologist

last modified Mar 11, 2016 09:40 AM
Tim Gollins, National Records Scotland

In this paper I will try to take a step back from the detail of current Digital Preservation models and Digital Preservation systems and present some thoughts around Digital Archives that have been emerging in the last few years. This will enable me to pose a number of questions and challenges to what might be regarded as conventional thinking in this domain. I will use the ephemeral nature of String Figures to provide a tangible thought experiment to consider what should be preserved. Then I will then use the idea of the Principle of Parsimony to challenge the trend to increasing complexity and cost in preservation systems. This will implicitly re-balance the value-cost equation that is always at the heart of memory institutions. I believe these perspectives will be able to inform some responses to the challenges faced by data repositories in the context of Long Term Data Preservation and Access.