A visitor to the National Library’s website will undoubtedly be impressed by how easy it is for digital resources to come to life on screen. What the visitor may not be aware of beyond his point and click, however, is the National Library's digital preservation initiative, a systematic approach to fulfill the Library’s mandate to preserve for posterity and share in perpetuity the cultural legacy of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. 21st century libraries and memory institutions face a common challenge: how best to perpetuate the traditional preservation functions of a library in the dynamic technological climate of the information age.
Given the constantly shifting technological environment in which libraries now operate, a digital preservation strategy is much more complicated than simply scanning a rare manuscript or historic photograph. The National Library’s digital preservation mechanisms utilize state-of-the-art technology in a facility that resembles a scene from a futuristic novel. Even with existing equipment and skills, technological advances and changing formats require the National Library’s digital preservation team to continuously employ new practices, considering how what is preserved today will be accessed in the future. The National Library works in consultation with peer institutions worldwide contending with these issues, and draws on the renowned expertise available in close proximity within Israel's hi-tech sector.
“Market forces are constantly introducing newer, faster, bigger, and ‘better’ technologies for the production, distribution and storage of electronic information faster than we can keep up with,” shares Chezkie Kasnett, Digital Projects Manager for the National Library. “The Library is very proud to be leading a conversation about best practices in digital preservation, and working with firms across Israel and around the world to develop new technologies in this arena. This is a never-ending initiative that requires conscious, proactive effort to ensure that our digital records will be available into the distant future.”