To an increasingly greater extent, individuals, private organisations and enterprises create archives by means of electronic systems and in digital formats.

Electronic media have replaced paper in core archival areas, such as case management archives, protocols and registers. Electronic storage is also used for all types of information in text, audio, images and/or video format.

It can be a great challenge to preserve electronic archival material that was not created according to approved standards. Creators of private archives very often use personal electronic solutions, for instance in cases when

  • The enterprise stores electronic information in the form of free-standing electronic documents or files in a common folder and file structure. This type of files are quite often worthy of preservation.
  • Cases are managed entirely by e-mail without these actions being documented in an archive. E-mail systems may thus contain information and documentation that is not available elsewhere, and can therefore in reality constitute the most important archival system.
  • Creators of private archives store information in databases that may range from simple registers to specialised systems with advanced business logic. A specialised system may be a customised system designed to solve a particular task for one archive creator, or a standard system in use by many archive creators, such as accounting or payroll systems.

To a great extent, private players use case management and archival systems that do not comply with the Noark standard. When interfacing with archive creators, we have recommended archival solutions that allow for deposition and storage. In the time ahead, the National Archives will collaborate with archive creators and others in the field of preservation on solutions for digital archive creation in the private sector.