Article by Jeffrey Darlington in TNA’s RecordKeeping magazine, Summer 2004. Nearly 4 years old now, of course.

Digital Archive

TNA established a Digital Preservation Dept to preserve the increasing number of born-digital records which UK government departments were creating, and to offer guidance on digipres issues to the wider community. In April 2003 TNA’s Digital Archive was launched. The Digital Archive “uses open standards and technologies wherever possible, including extensive use of Java and XML. The system stores electronic records with their associated preservation metadata.” The DA can store WP docs, emails, websites, sound, video and databases.

In terms of hardware, the DA uses a tape library, which can store “up to 100 terabytes.”

The DA actually runs two separate systems, “a master system which stores all records and is completely isolated [physically? AA] from all other systems, and an open system, which replicates only the open records, and is available from our public search rooms in Kew.”

UK Central Government Web Archive

This TNA initiative systematically archives a very carefully selected representative sample of websites. One copy is held by the Internet Archive, the other at TNA. It has been in operation in September 2003, and currently [summer 2004] collects 54 sites, out of 3000 to choose from. About 225,000 pages get added each week. Access is hosted by IA’s Wayback Machine.


A database of the technical dependencies of electronic records and file formats, including HW, SW and OS details. Launched Feb 2004. “Technical documentation of file formats is not easy to acquire, particularly after they become obsolete.” The plan is to use PRONOM to help migrate records to current formats [AA: the article does not say whether they mean the master or the publicly viewable copies.]