Why does the number of hours of information per cubic metre of housing have to be increased?

An archive is always expanding. Every year, new information to be stored is delivered to the archive. Advance selection of the information offered is not simple; even more so when selecting after a certain time and then destroying the information of lesser historic value. Selection costs time which equals money. This money is not related to the storage costs of the information. Only when the information carrier has to be replaced will it be the right moment to make this judgement.

Another fact; the expansion of storage space is always a abrupt action. We add more cubic metres of space and then, before adding yet more space, we have to wait until this new space is used up in turn. Our estimation that the ratio between budgets and costs in the future is decreasing is the final argument to reach the conclusion that “We have to store more information in the available space”.

The increase in the number of hours of information per cubic metre of housing is only possible, however, with the condition that this increase is made in such a manner that it is technically acceptable (considering the other requirements for safe information storage).

Regarding the storage costs, we have not taken into account, for instance, the following points:

$ The safety of the information; i.e. protecting information carriers against atmospheric conditions; against electronic faults; and against fire and theft.
$ The handling costs of information; i.e. copying from an information carrier onto a consumer tape for lending out; search documentation systems; and personal advice and administration.
$ The preservation of information; i.e. a technical system that will keep the information on a long-term basis.
$ The specific technical qualities of the various information carriers; i.e. special requirements of operating the equipment and the structural operating process, depending on the shape of the carrier (roll, disc or tape) and the recording technology (mechanical, magnetic or optical).

All these aspects are very important for the efficient running of an archive and must not be neglected when making the final decision on archiving. When deciding the organisation of an archive, it always requires the weighing of the available means against the risks to the collection.