23 Things for Archivists

Thing 25: Cloud Computing

By Jessica Miller

Cloud computing is based on the idea that a user does not necessarily need to own or even understand all of the hardware and data storage space to use a particular software service or perform a particular task.  Users typically will pay only for what they use, either on a subscription basis or as they would pay for a utility such as electricity.  They also save on up-front equipment costs.  Potential drawbacks to cloud computing services include data security and privacy issues, as well as the potential for data loss.

Cloud computing is probably most easily demonstrated in web-based e-mail services like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail or in photo storage sites like Flickr, Photobucket, or Snapfish.  Even information we post on social networking sites is stored “in the cloud.”

The Library of Congress, as part of its National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Program, has partnered with the New York Public Library, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and DuraSpace (an open source software company) to test the viability of cloud technology for long-term digital preservation.  Check out LC’s press release and DuraSpace’s blog on the program.


  1. Read through the articles and view the video in the resources section.
  2. Make a list of the services you use at work or at home that you think use cloud computing technologies.

Blog Prompts

  • In what ways do you think archival institutions can make use of cloud computing services?
  • What are some of the issues archivists will need to consider with regard to using cloud services?
  • Does your institution use any cloud services, or have you used any in other settings?  If so, how well do they work?
  • Are you responsible for records management at your institution? How does cloud computing affect the management of those records?


  1. […] Thing 24: Cloud Computing Thing 25: Tagging/Folksonomies/Cloud Tags Thing26: LibraryThing Thing 27: Directory 2.0 Thing 28: More Online Presentation Sharing Thing 29: More Social Networking Thing 30: E-newsletters Thing 31: Online Meeting Schedulers Thing 32: Customized Home Pages Thing 33: Word Clouds (Wordle) Thing 34: Google Maps/Mashups Thing 35: Screencasting Thing 36: Online Scrapbooks Thing 37: Clipmarks Thing 38: Sound Effects Thing 39: Online Media Editing Thing 40: Retroland Thing 41: Analytics Thing 42: Collaborative Annotation Thing 43: Multimedia Commenting Thing 44: Organize Your Research Online Thing 45: Print On Demand Thing 46: Using Blogging Software for Website Development LikeBe the first to like this post.▶ No Responses /* 0) { jQuery('#comments').show('', change_location()); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'none'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'inline'); return true; } else { jQuery('#comments').hide(''); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'inline'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'none'); return false; } } jQuery('#showcomments a').click(function(){ if(jQuery('#comments').css('display') == 'none') { self.location.href = '#comments'; check_location(); } else { check_location('hide'); } }); function change_location() { self.location.href = '#comments'; } }); /* ]]> */ […]

  2. I would also recommend adding NARA’s follow-up bulletin to the FAQ which provides more information:

  3. […] the Cloud. How I Love/Hate thee. This Thing is near and dear to my heart because of my Records Management role (to wit, I and most of the rest […]

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