Digital ‘Movage’

Kevin Kelly has coined the term ‘movage’ in a blog post published on 11 December 2008. Kevin argues that:

The only way to archive digital information is to keep it moving. I call this movage instead of storage. Proper movage means transferring the material to current platforms on a regular basis — that is, before the old platform completely dies, and it becomes hard to do.

The reasons for this are the continual changes in the formats and degradation of the storage media. I think this relates to the ideas discussed previously on this blog about an emphasis on ongoing access to Web resources rather than the preservation of such resources. In the case of Web resources the need tends to arise from changes in the technologies used to deliver the Web services rather than the formats themselves.

But whether a new term needs to be created is questionable – after all, Kevin Kelly is simply describing the well-established concept of migration of formats. As described in a glossary entry on the DCC Web site:

Migration: A means of overcoming technical obsolescence by transferring digital resources from one hardware/software generation to the next. The purpose of migration is to preserve the intellectual content of digital objects and to retain the ability for clients to retrieve, display, and otherwise use them in the face of constantly changing technology.

Despite this reservation I still think it’s good to see a slightly different variant on the ideas which have been discussed on this blog reaching a new community.