Being an archivist, with a history of web archiving for national libraries and government agencies, I find articles on retention policies rather interesting.
In it, Miller discusses an earlier post he’d written about the “Google smoking gun email at the Oracle trial” last summer. It fueld his more current post, which poses the question as to what a company should keep and what to throw away. Where is the balance between corporate legal protection in terms of retention policies and the loss of cultural heritage?
This question triggers my archivist brain to think in terms of ediscovery and corporate cultural heritage retention.
As Miller points out, there is much to be said for retention policies when it comes to legal protection. This is a reason many companies use (and should use) native format web archiving. It enables browser-based access to archive data on demand, making it easy to provide to auditors and for ediscovery. On the other hand, it’s also an excellent tool for cultural heritage preservation.
Most likely, say ten years ago, your company’s IT, HR, and Marketing departments were staffed with different personnel than today. What would it be like to access and show your current Development team how the company’s website has evolved (or needs to)? Your Marketing team benefits from comparative analysis of former and current advertising campaigns. Dreaded employee orientations are made more dynamic by “showing” instead of “talking” about the company’s cultural heritage.
This is web archiving as a multi-purpose tool, for both protection and preservation. Indeed: We have clients who use Hanzo Archives technology to do one or the other and both.