Thomas, Susan and Martin, Janette (2006) Using the papers of contemporary British politicians as a test bed for the preservation of digital personal archives. Journal of the Society of Archivists, 27 (1). pp. 29-56. ISSN 0037-9816

Paradigm (Personal ARchives Accessible in DIGital Media) is an exemplar project to explore how archivists might select, acquire, process, store, preserve and provide access to the digital archives of individuals for the use of future researchers. Using the papers of contemporary British politicians as a testbed, the project team will evaluate existing and emerging theoretical and practical work in the fields of archival science and digital curation. We intend to learn from both disciplines and apply this knowledge to our exemplar scenario with the goal of striking a balance between theoretical principles and practical procedures. This article places the Paradigm project in the broader framework of digital preservation initiatives in the UK and abroad, introduces the key aims of Paradigm and outlines some of our initial findings. We also confront the implications of exponential growth in the creation of personal digital collections—from digital images, and music files to personal websites and blogs—and conclude with a discussion of what this means for the wider archival profession

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