You implemented policies, procedures, and retention schedules for all your content types. You’ve coordinated between the business, legal, and IT to ensure no stone is left unturned. You’re confident that you have maintained your digital content in accordance with regulatory requirements and that you have established a defensible position regarding your record keeping practices. Then, one day, years down the road, you are called upon to produce that content in a court of law. Only then do you discover that the digital content you have gone to such lengths to preserve, will not render, will not print, will not display to it true original fidelity. And in a worst case, the format may not be usable at all. What went wrong?
A commonly overlooked task when planning the deployment of a content services platform is determining the durability of the digital formats you choose to store and archive. I define a durable format as “a long-term archiving format, agreed to by the business, legal, and IT, that meets the organisation’s compliance and regulatory requirements for reproduction, for the retention period of the content.” In other words, how do I ensure that the technology of tomorrow will still support the digital formats I am storing today? Unfortunately, there is no single right answer. Today, there are a myriad of file formats, and their long-term viability is unknown. Leveraging the wrong formats could put your organisation at risk should they someday become unusable.