Strategies for digital preservation of Electoral Commission’s archival materials. A case study of the Electoral Commission Office, Kampala District
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The records in Electoral Commission have been based on physical form (paper based) which includes reports, maps, artifacts, Ariel and still photos, charts, graphs, motion pictures, sound and video recordings, all these records belong to the public who have access to them with the mission of the resource center being to be open, encourage public participation and strengthen national democracy through public access to high value Electoral Commission records. This mission has been nearly impossible to achieve due to bulkiness of the records (binding), haphazard (random) manner of keeping the records, keeping records at departmental level among others; this consequently leads to inaccessibility of some records especially departmental records, difficulty in locating a particular record, physical access to resource center which could otherwise be done remotely anywhere any time. The study was carried out to identify the strategies for digital preservation of Electoral Commission’s archival materials at the Electoral Commission, Kampala District. The specific objectives were; to identify the digital preservation needs of the users of the Electoral Commission, to examine the current records preservation methods at the Electoral Commission, to examine the main methods of digital preservation applicable to the Electoral Commission setting and to establish guidelines for digital preservation at the Electoral Commission. The study design was a descriptive cross sectional one. It employed both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. Data was processed and analyzed using SPSS version 22, categorized and summarized in master sheets. Quantitative data was presented inform of tables, figures and charts (column and pie chart) using MS excel while descriptive statements were used for qualitative data. The sample size was 80 respondents which included staff and users of the Electoral Commission. In conclusion, this study specifically sought to identify the digital preservation needs of the users of the Electoral Commission, to examine the current records preservation methods at the Electoral Commission, to examine the main methods of digital preservation applicable to the Electoral Commission setting and to establish guidelines for digital preservation at the Electoral Commission. The study established that majority of the staff and users of EC were not knowledgeable of any resources to yield the digital preservation needs of users represented by 98%. Most of the staff and users did not know how current records at EC were being preserved represented by 82% with 84% of them reporting that there were challenges which have limited preservation at the EC, and 49% reporting that it was due to virus in computers. 67.2% reported that technology preservation was the main method applicable at the EC with 84% not being sure whether it was being implemented. Whereas 82% were also not sure whether there were guidelines in place for digital preservation at the EC. In view of these findings here before, it is inevitable therefore to conclude that there is an urgent need for digital preservation at the EC to enable easy access of electoral material and information by users. The study came up with the following recommendations: Staff training and acquiring new digital preservation skills, improving current methods of records preservation, maintenance of the website, integrated library Automation system, develop a digital preservation strategy, increase funding and provision of internet service.