Digital archiving: disrupt or be disrupted?

John Sheridan – The National Archives blog

This post works at two entirely different levels. It is a bold claim of right to the challenges of digital archiving, based on the longevity of the National Archives as an organisation, the trust it has earned and its commitment to its core mission – calling on a splendidly Bayesian historiography.

But it can be read another way, as an extended metaphor for government as a whole. There is the same challenge of managing modernity in long established institutions, the same need to sustain confidence during rapid systemic change. And there is the same need to grow new government services on the foundations of the old ones, drawing on the strength of old capabilities even as new ones are developed.

And that, of course, should be an unsurprising reading. Archival record keeping is changing because government itself is changing, and because archives and government both need to keep pace with the changing world.

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