Here today… April 19, 2011

Google is closing its Google Videos site and binning your old movies. The search giant, which also owns YouTube, won’t keep the videos that have been uploaded to the site.

– Rich Trenholm ‘Google Videos to nix your flix’ CNET News. Accessed April 18, 2011 8:32 AM PDT

Perhaps we should actually stop to ask Google and their peers whether they are indeed aware of the fact that the future of digital preservation lies in their hands and the responsibilities which comes with it and whether this is a role they are happy to fulfil. For perhaps just as we are in danger of sleepwalking our way into a situation where we have let this responsibility slip through our fingers, so they might be equally guilty of unwittingly finding it has landed in theirs.

– Steve Bailey ‘Is the Cloud aware that it has ‘the future of digital archiving in its hands’?, Records management futurewatch blog, 25 August 2010. Accessed 18 April 2011

The use of service providers who keep our information in the cloud has been on the radar of recordkeeping professionals and archivists for some time. As UK records management blogger Steve Bailey noted in 2010, the conversation with behemoth providers like Google regarding the fate of our data does not, however, seem to have started. And in the meantime, their services will continue to evolve, with some offerings shutting down – as in the case of Google video. All content will be removed from the site by mid May. If users have not migrated their content to another platform or back into their own store by then, it will be lost.

This is indeed a salutary tale for government organisations who have made use of cloud based services to store official records. Some of the safeguards that we recommend to avoid information loss include:

For more information on managing the risks associated with keeping government information in the cloud, see our short guide: ‘Managing recordkeeping risk in the cloud’ (PDF, 99 kb).

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