Jeff Rothenberg, a Rand Corporation scientist and specialist in digital longevity says that in the good ol’ days, paper was made from cotton rags and could last for centuries. The American Declaration of Independence is on such paper and is still in good shape.
But the ordinary office document today is made from wood pulp and is quite acidic. Heat and humidity accelerate the chemical reactions and so it usually last about 25 to 30 years.
A cool environment with low humidity can increase paper life significantly. Most believe that the answer to preservation lies in digitization.
But digitization is not a do-it-forget-it solution.
- Digitization requires regular testing to ensure the document is still retrievable.
- It requires regular migration of format. Documents stored as Word Star, a 1978 format, are as good as unreadable today. Files that were “.doc” need to be saved as “.docx”
- And it required regular migration of the medium. The extinct floppy disk is extinct. The CD may soon be extinct too.
Reliable Records helps you digitize, test and migrate electronic documents.