Chosen - rather than a disk version - as "it is a greener option"
The has ushered in a new era for archiving with the arrival of a machine aimed at securing the government's digital heritage.
The digital data storage system will hold one petabyte of digital data – equivalent to 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets, or 13 years of HD-TV – allowing The National Archives to handle the flood of digital government records which it will be receiving in the coming years.
David Thomas, Director of Technology at The National Archives, said: “This is a fantastic step forward for us as we work to ensure continued access to digital information in the future. The capacity of this machine is huge. But in this digital age we live in we are producing vast amounts of information every day, and these types of machines will have a growing role in the archives of the future.”
The tape library will store both 'born-digital records', such as websites and digital documents, along with digital copies of paper records. The tape system was chosen, rather than a disk version, as it is a greener option. The National Archives estimates a comparable disk machine would have used 25-times as much energy, as the disks use energy for spinning and cooling even when they are not reading or writing data.
Part of The National Archives work includes archiving websites, and the UK Government Web Archive already holds more than 270 million documents dating back to 1997.