Storing information electronically has a lot of attached benefits but it also has some attached downsides.
Digital asset management has made it much easier to revise information, as well as drastically cutting back on the amount of space that traditional storage required. Hundreds and hundreds of documents can be stored in the space of a USB stick no bigger than your finger.
However, it requires an active approach – one fundamentally different to that used for more traditional formats. You can’t just leave a hard drive in a drawer for sixty years; you have to take an active approach to managing your digital assets. Luckily, using electronic media makes it a very simple task to replicate data; possibly the best aspect of digital asset storage is how easy it is to create duplicates of data and store it across several systems.
Traditional archives have always been vulnerable to accident or catastrophe and if stored in a single place, so is digital media. Because you can simply copy a file and place it on to a different system, you can have several copies stored across several locations: then the only challenge becomes keeping the different copies up to date.
Once you’ve replicated the data, then your job is keeping each copy refreshed (keeping it up to date with other copies of the same file) and migrating it to new formats if you change your systems, or just to keep up to date with new software releases (from .doc to .pdf for example). All of this is made much easier thanks to metadata – information attached to the file such as date of creation, the original author, revision and preservation history, rights management and more.