Without long-term planning, digitization projects can be like black holes. Information is only retrievable through technology which has a cost. The more information that is converted, the higher the maintenance costs. If funding fades, the files may soon be obsolete and would be lost. For large projects, the life cycle must be planned, which includes a financial commitment. The archive has asked the questions: once materials are digitized, is it cheaper to maintain the digital files over time, or rely for long-term storage on
images on microfilm produced from the digital files with the use of COM (Computer Output Microfilm). It was expensive to preserve digital files, and the cost is more than generally believed because it involves much more than most people realize. The idea that media storage capacity gets cheaper because it doubles each year is true in the short term, but not in the long term, since the costs of management will keep going up. The real cost of storage is management.; the labor cost accounts for 39% of the total storage cost. The cost of long term storage also depends on how much it is used and accessed. The cost of digitization is also high. Digitizing audiovisual information is very time consuming and it also creates huge amounts of digital information. It is also the only possibility to preserve materials for the future. A third of the cost goes to scanning. A Swedish study states that for AV: “Due to condition and technical circumstances transfer should be made within the next ten years.” It must be digitized in the near future as media deteriorate and equipment becomes obsolete. The archive is looking at the possibility of using COM for preservation. Whichever strategy is chosen it must include a long-term financial commitment.
A Library of Congress strategy meeting with leading producers of commercial content has shown that the content creators are very interested in preserving their digital materials for archival and other purposes. “We are faced with the potential disappearance of our cultural heritage if we don’t act soon and act together to preserve digital materials.” Preserving content long-term depends on influencing content providers from the moment of creation. They are focused on potential partnerships between the Library and the private sector. This year the Library plans to issue a request to private industry for cooperative projects to catalyze preservation in the private sector. The Library will support the establishment of preservation activities that span content owners and distributors, as well as technology companies.
The Women's Film Preservation Fund was founded to preserve early silent and color pictures, experimental and documentary films, and "orphans," films without a clear copyright holder, that are by or about women. “Preserving film is a relatively simple process, but not necessarily an easy one.” Preserving a film means making new negatives and prints from the existing film, which can then be duplicated without ever having to touch the original film. It is a costly process. There is a push to get preserved performances in videotape or digital format, which can be borrowed and accessed by companies or private institutions. “It's impossible to preserve everything; the volume is staggering and there is not enough time and money.
Seagate has launched a 750GB drive, the largest hard drive to date. It excelled in capacity, price and performance. It can write a 3GB file in about 2 minutes. It is available now and is priced under $600.
One of the problem with the optical formats is the lack of ability to recycle the discs. Because of the large number of discs that are discarded each year, some are calling for a recycling surcharge and stricter rules on disposal. This may even affect future adoption of similar media. The future trend may be more towards networks than optical discs.