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The Art Institute of Chicago takes steps to preserve its history and records



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To preserve its corporate records and institutional knowledge, The Art Institute of Chicago has implemented a cloud-hosted active digital preservation platform. The museum chose a solution from Preservica, which helps organizations protect critical, long-term digital information.

The Art Institute, which has nearly 300,000 works in its permanent collection and 1.5 million visitors each year, has a large volume of records that are increasingly digital in origin. They include the minutes and decision-making of the board of trustees; information on the museum’s exhibitions, donations, gifts and artwork acquisitions; and annual reports and financial statements.

Preservica’s active digital preservation software will ensure that the museum’s vital institutional records are safely stored and easily found by staff and maintained in formats that can be read and used by future generations.

Alvin Dantes, digital initiatives and technology librarian at The Art Institute of Chicago, says, “Before Preservica, we did not have a comprehensive strategy for preserving our born-digital records. In fact, we were printing out and storing paper records, which is not a sustainable or cost-effective solution. The solution will not only protect our historical records for future generations but also vastly improve access and findability.”

Dantes adds, “Preservica was the only end-to-end system that combined all the core OAIS [open archival information system] requirements for successful long-term digital preservation and secure access into a single application. In particular, by using a cloud-hosted version, we were able to get up and running really quickly without being reliant on our IT team. We also like the flexibility the solution gives us to easily rearrange collections, create virtual collections, enrich metadata and migrate files to newer formats over time. This allows us to continually respond to changing institutional needs.”


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