Information Loss Wiki

You can contribute to this info-base by adding new wiki pages or commenting on existing pages.

Information Loss Principles?

  • The concept of a "super reliable" storage media, or of a '1000 year' media life are useful, but insufficient.  Beware of those vendors proffering a technology-only solution.

  • Long-term digital preservation is a complex 'systems' problem with many moving parts -- just study this list of information loss causes. Logical and Physical migration are considered the "Holy Grail" problems.

  • Cost of migrations and of operations are the single largest barriers to maintaining a digital preservation service.

  • Digital curation, the management of all aspects of the physical preservation services is the most commonly ignored element of system design. 

  • Is it data or is it information?  Information in a digital preservation context is inclusive of the data, associated metadata, audit logs, authenticity validation (fixity), embedded information and links, and any other associated reference information that enables or provides context to the data, making the subject of digital preservation the information, not the data.  This is where all common IT practices when applied to digital "archives" fail to provide long-term digital preservation services and actually contribute to information loss.

  • The key question in digital preservation is "How much information are you willing to lose over what time period?"  It is not a question of "Zero-Loss," but rather, "How much loss is tolerable and at what cost."  

  • Identifying the "value of information" to the organization is the key to solving the cost problem.  Information classification based on value and risk and permanent deletion of expired and unimportant information are key practices to reducing the load and the cost. 

Categories of Information
Loss Causes:

  • Storage Practices
  • Storage Media and Systems
  • Logical Format Changes
  • Logical and Physical Migration Practices
  • Encryption Practices
  • Authenticity Practices
  • Access Loss
  • External Service Providers
  • Deletion Practices
  • Security Practices 
  • Human Error
  • Operating Practices
  • Lost or Stolen computers, mobile devices, or media
  • Intentional loss or damage
See the Wiki page "Comprehensive Listing of Information Loss" and add to the listing.