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Since the early 2000s the European Union has promoted and supported the development of cross-border and digital means for conducting business and running governments. This strategic focus, carried out through the initial Lisbon Strategy1 and the follow-up Europe 2020 strategy2 has contributed to a widespread shift toward e-governments and e-commerce. Ultimately, this has transformed the relationships between governments, citizens and business. From a technical perspective, a wide range of new information systems and communication methods have become available that streamline and automate transactions, enable integration of information and service delivery, and enhance collaboration between participants. It has also changed the ways of conducting public and private business, documenting activities, and making information available for reuse, aiding decision-making and supporting accountability. Much of this information has to remain available for long periods, often beyond the life expectancy of individual information systems or technological components. This poses a significant challenge for both the original data creators and digital archives that have to be capable of both dealing with the most current information technology, and with “saving” information from a variety of legacy systems. In order to deal with these challenges there is a need to bridge the gap between the methods used in digital preservation and content creation and introduce additional practical interoperability into the solutions used for a Digital Single Market and digital preservation infrastructures. The European Commission recognised the need in 2013 and funded the E-ARK project3 (2014 – 2017) which successfully delivered a set of principles, specifications and tools that provided an interoperable and international solution for the sustainable long-term availability of digital information. This paper describes the solutions first developed during the E-ARK project, focusing on the SIP format, as well as the steps the European Commission is taking towards building a thriving digital preservation community around the E-ARK outcomes.
CC-By Attribution 4.0 International