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Nothing Succeeds Like Success:

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An Approach for Evaluating Digital Preservation Efficacy

Download full textAbrams-iPRES-2018-Nothing-succeeds-like-success (PDF, 2018-0506-1425, 521 554 KB)

Presented at the 15th International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPRES 2018), Boston, September 24-27, 2018

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Digital preservation encompasses the theory and practice ensuring purposeful future use of digital resources over time. But how can one tell whether it has been effective or not? The evaluation of preservation efficacy has two dimensions: trustworthiness of managerial programs and systems, ; and successful use of managed resources. The While the former has received extensive attention, while the latter has been little investigated. This stems from an insufficiently broad and nuanced conceptualization of the preservation enterprise, which should be viewed more expansively as facilitating meaningful human communication across time and concomitant cultural distance. Communicological analysis leads to a semiotic-phenomenological model for preservation-enabled communication cognizant of the elusive nature of use, which is inherently contingent with respect to time, place, person, and purpose. Preservation success is positioned as an individual, rather than universal value, with a benchmark evaluation of situational verisimilitude, rather than absolute fidelity to an illusory canonical state and information experience. The proposed evaluative framework offers greater approach provides new conceptual clarity to preservation theory and practice, a more rigorous basis for illuminating the limits of preservation efficacy, and a more nuanced means of stating, measuring, and evaluating preservation intentions, expectations, and outcomes.

Citation: Abrams, Stephen (2018), "Nothing succeeds like success: A framework An approach for evaluating digital preservation efficacy," 15th International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPRES 2018), Boston, September 24-27

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