The Independent Administrative Institution National Archives of Japan (独立行政法人国立公文書館, Dokuritsu Gyosei Hojin Kokuritsu Kōbunshokan) preserve Japanese government documents and historical records and make them available to the public. Although Japan's reverence for its unique history and art is well documented and illustrated by collections of art and documents, there is almost no archivist tradition. Before the creation of the National Archives, there was a scarcity of available public documents which preserve "grey-area" records, such as internal sources to show a process which informs the formation of a specific policy or the proceedings of various committee meetings.
In accordance with the National Archives Law No.79 (1999),the core function of preserving "government documents and records of importance as historical materials" includes all material relating to (1) decision-making on important items of national policies, and (2) processes of deliberation, discussion, or consultation prior to reaching any decision-making, and the process of enforcing policies based on decisions made. The transfer of what are deemed historically important materials from the various ministries and agencies is carried out on a regular basis in accordance with the Transfer Plan prepared and revised by the Prime Minister for each fiscal year. Preservation, restoration cataloging, microfilming and digitization are all important aspects of the archive's responsibilities. However, the National Archives is in the process of becoming something more than simply a historical repository, because it is also a complex of structures, processes, and epistemologies which are situated at a critical point of the intersection between scholarship, cultural practices, politics, and technologies.
Since the Meiji Period (1868–1912), administrative documents had been preserved respectively by each government ministry. A library for the cabinet of the early Meiji government was established in 1873; and in 1885, this became the Cabinet Library (Naikaku Bunko), which evolved as the nation's leading specialized library of ancient Japanese and Chinese classical books and materials. The Cabinet Library's collection included government records of the Edo period and the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867) and other material. These collections are an important element of the archive's core holdings.
In November 1959, the President of the Science Council of Japan issued a recommendation establishing a National Archives to prevent scattering and loss of official documents and to facilitate public access. In July 1971, the newly created Archives began receiving, assessing, and cataloging government documents and records of importance as historical materials; and also, the Archives focused on the conceptually distinct program designed to encourage wider interest by mounting exhibitions and fostering research.
In July 1998, the Tsukuba Annex (Tsukuba Gakuen Toshiwas) was established in Ibaraki Prefecture in order to expand and improve the storage of archival materials.
A Cabinet resolution in 1999 led to the creation of the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (アジア歴史資料センター, Asia Rekishi Shiryo Centre), which opened in November 2001. The center digitizes data from various national institutions, such as the National Archives, Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Military Archives of the National Institute for Defense Studies of the Japan Defense Agency, and provides the digital data through the Internet.
The National Archives became an Independent Administrative Institution on April 1, 2001, when an Act amending part of the National Archives Law came into effect. Archival responsibilities include managing public access to stored records,and overseeing the collection as it grows and develops and preservation protocols.
The enhanced independence of the archives was designed to help further its institutional focus on measures for the proper conservation of historical materials.
The National Archives website provides information about the archives and catalog data which allow the holdings to be searched online. The site offers English and Japanese versions, the holdings themselves are, of course, mainly in Japanese. The website facilitates access to brief descriptions and some images of documents, books, and cultural properties. The Digital Gallery may be searched using keywords or various categories, opening access to digitised images of scrolls; maps; photographs; drawings; posters; and documents. English summaries of publications from the National Archives (journal and annual report) are available for downloading from the site.
From April 2005, the digital archive system in this website has provided high-resolution pictures of a range of holdings, including the materials designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan.The collections in the National Archives provide tangible evidence of memory for individuals, communities, and the state; and the archives are integral in a process of defining memory institutionally within Japan's prevailing political systems and cultural norms.
The National Archives has evolved as a model for developing prefectural and municipal archival collections—some of which predate the establishment of the national institution. In these smaller institutions, similar activities of preservation, restoration, cataloging, microfilming and digitization are evolving.For example, the Digital Gallery includes digitized photos of the stack room for official documents in Shiga Prefecture in 1924. These images were appended to a report submitted by the prefectural governor to the chief of the cabinet secretariat in November of that year. Shiga's governor was describing the progress of work intended to modernize standards and procedures for compiling and storing of written records, which was expected to produce improved efficiencies in administrative services.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States government charged with the preservation and documentation of government and historical records. It is also tasked with increasing public access to those documents which make up the National Archive. NARA is officially responsible for maintaining and publishing the legally authentic and authoritative copies of acts of Congress, presidential directives, and federal regulations. NARA also transmits votes of the Electoral College to Congress.
Digitization, less commonly digitalization, is the process of converting information into a digital format, in which the information is organized into bits. The result is the representation of an object, image, sound, document or signal by generating a series of numbers that describe a discrete set of points or samples. The result is called digital representation or, more specifically, a digital image, for the object, and digital form, for the signal. In modern practice, the digitized data is in the form of binary numbers, which facilitate computer processing and other operations, but, strictly speaking, digitizing simply means the conversion of analog source material into a numerical format; the decimal or any other number system that can be used instead.
In library and archival science, digital preservation is a formal endeavor to ensure that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable. It involves planning, resource allocation, and application of preservation methods and technologies, and it combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure access to reformatted and "born-digital" content, regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change. The goal of digital preservation is the accurate rendering of authenticated content over time. The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services Preservation and Reformatting Section of the American Library Association, defined digital preservation as combination of "policies, strategies and actions that ensure access to digital content over time." According to the Harrod's Librarian Glossary, digital preservation is the method of keeping digital material alive so that they remain usable as technological advances render original hardware and software specification obsolete.
Archival science, or archival studies, is the study and theory of building and curating archives, which are collections of documents, recordings and data storage devices.
The California Digital Library (CDL) was founded by the University of California in 1997. In collaboration with the ten University of California Libraries and other partners, CDL has assembled one of the world's largest digital research libraries. CDL facilitates the licensing of online materials and develops shared services used throughout the UC system. Building on the foundations of the Melvyl Catalog, CDL has developed one of the largest online library catalogs in the country and works in partnership with the UC campuses to bring the treasures of California's libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations to the world. CDL continues to explore how services such as digital curation, scholarly publishing, archiving and preservation support research throughout the information lifecycle.
The conservation and restoration of photographs is the study of the physical care and treatment of photographic materials. It covers both efforts undertaken by photograph conservators, librarians, archivists, and museum curators who manage photograph collections at a variety of cultural heritage institutions, as well as steps taken to preserve collections of personal and family photographs. It is an umbrella term that includes both preventative preservation activities such as environmental control and conservation techniques that involve treating individual items. Both preservation and conservation require an in-depth understanding of how photographs are made, and the causes and prevention of deterioration. Conservator-restorers use this knowledge to treat photographic materials, stabilizing them from further deterioration, and sometimes restoring them for aesthetic purposes.
The National Archives of Sweden is the official archive of the Swedish government and is responsible for the management of records from Sweden's public authorities. Although the archives functions primarily as the government archive, it also preserves some documents from private individuals and non-public organizations. The mission of the archives is to collect and preserve records for future generations.
The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) of the United States was an archival program led by the Library of Congress to archive and provide access to digital resources. The program convened several working groups, administered grant projects, and disseminated information about digital preservation issues. The U.S. Congress established the program in 2000, and official activity specific to NDIIPP itself wound down between 2016 and 2018. The Library was chosen because of its role as one of the leading providers of high-quality content on the Internet. The Library of Congress has formed a national network of partners dedicated to preserving specific types of digital content that is at risk of loss.
In library and archival science, preservation is a set of activities aimed at prolonging the life of a record, book, or object while making as few changes as possible. Preservation activities vary widely and may include monitoring the condition of items, maintaining the temperature and humidity in collection storage areas, writing a plan in case of emergencies, digitizing items, writing relevant metadata, and increasing accessibility. Preservation, in this definition, is practiced in a library or an archive by a librarian, archivist, or other professional when they perceive a record is in need of care.
The National Library of Bhutan (NLB), Thimphu, Bhutan was established in 1967 for the purpose of "preservation and promotion of the rich cultural and religious heritage" of Bhutan. It is located in the Kawajangtsa area of Thimphu, above the Royal Thimphu Golf Course, near the Folk Heritage Museum and the National Institute for Zorig Chusum.
The Slovenská národná knižnica is a modern scientific, cultural, information and educational institution that serves all citizens of Slovakia and users from abroad. Slovak National Library is conservation and depositary library of Slovakia. SNL preferably collects, professionally processes, stores, protects and makes accessible domestic and foreign Slavic documents. Funds and collections of the Slovak National Library contain 4.9 million library items, 1.7 million archive documents and thousands of museum units.
Preservation metadata is information that supports and documents acts of preservation on digital materials. A specific type of metadata, preservation metadata works to maintain a digital object’s viability while also ensuring continued access through providing contextual information as well as details on usage and rights. It describes both the context of an item as well as its structure.
The Center for Research Libraries is a consortium of North American universities, colleges, and independent research libraries, based on a buy-in concept for membership of the consortia. The consortium acquires and preserves traditional and digital resources for research and teaching and makes them available to member institutions through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery. It also gathers and analyzes data pertaining to the preservation of physical and digital resources, and fosters the sharing of expertise, in order to assist member libraries in maintaining their collections. The Center for Research Libraries was founded in 1949, as the Midwest Inter-Library Center (MILC). The traditional role of the CRL was as an aggregator of tangible collection materials, however this has been updated in the digital age into the CRL's current role as a facilitator of collection development, digitization, and licensing collections by individual libraries and interest groups. This transformation required the CRL to adopt new funding models from partnerships with key organizations, and an updated use of current technology to support community outreach and engagement. The funding was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the IMLS.
Digital artifactual value, a preservation term, is the intrinsic value of a digital object, rather than the informational content of the object. Though standards are lacking, born-digital objects and digital representations of physical objects may have a value attributed to them as artifacts.
A digital library, digital repository, or digital collection, is an online database of digital objects that can include text, still images, audio, video, or other digital media formats. Objects can consist of digitized content like print or photographs, as well as originally produced digital content like word processor files or social media posts. In addition to storing content, digital libraries provide means for organizing, searching, and retrieving the content contained in the collection.
Publication of Archival, Library & Museum Materials (PALMM) is a cooperative initiative of the public universities of Florida in the United States to provide a central repository for smaller digital collections. In addition to contributing to PALMM, universities in Florida also host and maintain separate individual digital collections as well as many large collaborative projects. In September 2011, Florida's Council of State University Libraries selected SobekCM to power a common digital library system across the state, replacing the software currently powering the PALMM collections.
A memory institution is an organization maintaining a repository of public knowledge, a generic term used about institutions such as libraries, archives, heritage institutions, aquaria and arboreta, and zoological and botanical gardens, as well as providers of digital libraries and data aggregation services which serve as memories for given societies or mankind. Memory institutions serve the purpose of documenting, contextualizing, preserving and indexing elements of human culture and collective memory. These institutions allow and enable society to better understand themselves, their past, and how the past impacts their future. These repositories are ultimately preservers of communities, languages, cultures, customs, tribes, and individuality. Memory institutions are repositories of knowledge, while also being actors of the transitions of knowledge and memory to the community. These institutions ultimately remain some form of collective memory. Increasingly such institutions are considered as a part of a unified documentation and information science perspective.
National archives are the archives of a country. The concept evolved in various nations at the dawn of modernity based on the impact of nationalism upon bureaucratic processes of paperwork retention.
The documentation of cultural property is a critical aspect of collections care. As stewards of cultural property, museums collect and preserve not only objects but the research and documentation connected to those objects, in order to more effectively care for them. Documenting cultural heritage is a collaborative effort. Essentially, registrars, collection managers, conservators, and curators all contribute to the task of recording and preserving information regarding collections. There are two main types of documentation museums are responsible for: records generated in the registration process—accessions, loans, inventories, etc. and information regarding research on objects and their historical significance. Properly maintaining both types of documentation is vital to preserving cultural heritage.