Today, more and more information is being produced in a digital form. In addition to this so-called born-digital content, material that was produced to exist in an analogue form is now being digitised both for preservation and for easier access. This digital information comes in an ever greater variety of formats, many of which are relatively short-lived. Newer versions of the same software are often unable to render files produced with older versions of that software, let alone files produced with similar software from other vendors. Soft- and hardware environments change constantly and after only a few years can older files often no longer be rendered with up-to-date systems.
While large scientific organisations and memory institutions (museums, libraries and archives) have in recent years invested significant effort and activity towards digital preservation, the commercial world does not currently have the means to preserve their digital information for the long term.
This paper sets out to determine what would be needed to make modern Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Systems ready for long-term preservation of the assets stored within them. For this aim both the general Model of an ECM and the"Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)"have been described, and the special needs of an enterprise system identified.
A special focus lies on the Electronic Records Management (ERM) component of ECMs, which already provides simple preservation functionalities, but lacks those aspects of the OAIS that would make it truly long-term preservation capable. A truly long-term preservation capable ERM would have to add these while retaining capabilities of compliance (the retention or destruction of certain documents in accordance to legal requirements).