Yes, we all know: this is the era of "turning big data into actionable insights." 

But imagine your organization's data traced back to 1848. That's the challenge for the Associated Press (AP), the global news agency that for three centuries has supplied publishers with stories and photographs.

The Associated Press, whose early reporting efforts include coverage of the Lincoln assassination, has turned to digital preservation specialist Preservica to safeguard its corporate records and news wire services. 

The New York City-based wire service, established in 1846, continues its effort to preserve and make accessible its near 170-year-old records, including reporters’ notes, images, videos and millions of new and historical wire feeds. Data preservation efforts begin with archives beginning two years (1848) after the AP was born.  

History Matters, the AP Says

Valerie Komor, director of the Associated Press' Corporate Archives project, spearheads the AP's efforts. The Archives primarily serves AP journalists and staff, but it is also open to outside researchers. Its Corporate Archives initiative began in 2003.

The AP is using Preservica’s Cloud Edition, hosted on Amazon Web Services. The AP wants to automate the process of ensuring digital content remains readable and useable into the future.

The Associated Press plans to add the full set of AP annual reports (1875-2012) as well as a set of charters and bylaws (1895-2014). 

“We thought we would start by preserving those records that we need to ensure business continuity,” Komor said in a statement. “The first tranche of 2TB of data —  IFFs and PDFs — has now been successfully ingested into the system.” 

AP Editor's Notes Go Digital

equipment used by Associated Press to transmit wire services

What kinds of records does the AP want to preserve? Historical turns of the editor's hand, such as the pencil edits on a news report that President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

“You can actually see the letters cascading down each page, evidence that the editor was pulling the paper out of the teletype while it was still printing,” Komor said.

Preservica CEO Jon Tilbury added, "AP has a valuable corporate history, as well as over a century and a half of news to protect. We feel very privileged to have Preservica chosen by AP.”

Preservica’s digital preservation platform is a standards-based (OAIS ISO 14721) repository that includes connectors to enterprise content and records management systems.

Title image AP photographer in Vietnam image "Photographer Collection: Horst Faas" (CC BY 2.0) by tommy japan
Second image "Associated Press" (CC BY 2.0) by Rochelle, just rochelle