6.1.6 Long Term Planning Long term planning for a digital audio archive involves more than just the technical standards for a data storage system. The technical issues must be carefully resolved, but the social and economic aspects of running a digital storage system are vital to ensuring the continued access to the content. Long term planning should consider the following issues. The sustainability of the raw data: that is the retention of the byte-stream in its proper and logical order. The data in the storage system must be returned to the system without change or corruption. It is worth noting that computer systems expertise identifies a considerable risk in the maintenance and refreshment of data, and only a well managed and designed approach to IT will ensure adequate results. Formats and ability to replay: Digital data is only useful in a sound archive if it can be rendered as audio in the future. The proper choice of file format ensures that the future sound archive can replay the content of the data files, or will be able to acquire the technology to migrate the files to a new format. Not incorporating a lossy compression algorithm in that format allows that future transformation process to occur without altering the original audio content. Metadata, identification and long term access: All digital audio files must be identifiable and findable in order for that audio material to be used and the value of the content realised. Economics and Sound Archives: this includes the continued viable existence of the institutions that support the data storage systems and repositories as well as those that own, manage, or gain value from, the digital audio stored therein. The cost of maintaining a digital audio collection is ongoing and their must be a plan and a budget that realistically plans for long term preservation of collections. The cost of curating and managing the audio collections is also ongoing. Digital preservation is as much an economic issue as a technical one. The requirements of ongoing sustainability demand at their base a source of reliable funding, necessary to ensure that the constant, albeit potentially low level, support for the sustainability of the digital content and its supporting repositories, technologies and systems can be maintained for as long as it is required. Storage, management and preservation alternatives: Given that the economic and technical environment may well be volatile it is recommended that agreements be established between archives and institutions regarding the storage of data as archives of last resort. This would require some standard agreement about file formats and data organisation as well as social and technical aspects of management of the content. Tools, Software and long term planning: Hardware, software and systems are not things in themselves to be preserved, but are merely tools to support the task of preserving the content. The repository software D-Space, for example, does not describe itself as a preservation solution, but only useful in “enabling institutions with a sustainable ability to retain information assets and offer services upon them.” (DSpace, Michael J. Bass et al. 2002). The repository software itself is a tool, as are the various components designed to aid in operation, simplify processes, and automate and validate the harvesting of metadata. Long term planning involves being able to change or upgrade systems without endangering the content.