We know that Katrina and her wake affected many collections. Some are likely totally destroyed while others -- we hope -- can be restored to some resemblance of their former glory. If the materials were digitized, then there is hope that those images might be retrieved and serve as important surrogates for items that have been lost or damaged. Unfortunately, often those digitized materials are on servers in the same area as the original items. Katrina and other disasters demonstrate that there is a need to keep the digital versions (or one copy of the digital versions) in another region. By keeping the two in different geographic regions, one version has a higher chance of being spared by a disaster.
Now is the time to step back -- pause -- and think about your digitized materials, their storage and quality.
- Have you stored a version off-site?
- Is a version someplace that is fire-proof and flood-proof?
- If your servers fail, can you bring a version of your collection online from another site?
- If you lose the original items, are your digitized materials of high enough quality to serve as good surrogates?