The Sainsbury Archive to create new cloud-based digital archive


The Sainsbury Archive, which charts the growth and history of one of the UK's largest supermarkets, has chosen Preservica's AWS cloud-hosted digital preservation platform to actively preserve invaluable digital assets relating to the company's operations.

These currently date from the opening of the very first store in Drury Lane, London in 1869, and the Archive also plans to use Preservica to safeguard exclusively born-digital records in the future.
The Sainsbury Archive contains a vast array of materials including advertising, brand assets, marketing campaigns, every issue of the company's in-house magazine, packaging and product designs, as well as corporate governance records such as meeting minutes, board reports and staff records. The archive also houses culturally significant items like daily memos sent to Sainsbury's store managers during WW2, and Family business papers.

The Sainsbury Archive is undertaking a large-scale digitisation project which prompted the team to examine its digital preservation strategy. It is expected to create around 65 TB of information, and therefore felt it was important to ensure its unique digital material could be safely stored and future-proofed, using a secure cloud-hosted preservation and access platform. This is especially pertinent for material that is currently at risk of degradation and format obsolescence, such as film and VHS tapes.

Marcela Bonthron, Sainsbury's Archive Co-ordinator, said: "Previously we'd been using local servers to store Sainsbury archive valuable data and records, but the need for a robust approach to digital preservation soon became clear. It wasn't just to consolidate and manage the large amounts of digital records our digitisation projects will naturally create, but also to make our unique digital assets more accessible and ensure they remain readable and useable by future generations. Preservica will also enable us to future-proof the large amounts of new born-digital information that the Sainsbury Archive will be acquiring in the future."

Managed by the Museum of London Docklands in Canary Wharf, The Sainsbury Archive is used by researchers, the public and Sainsbury's own internal teams, to gain insight into business and retailhistory, shopping and eating habits, architecture and urban development, and advertising, display, and product design. For example, packaging designs from the 1970s recently inspired the design of the new Sainsbury's Bank credit card, as well as the design of Sainsbury's own-brand vinyl records.

Allison Foster, Sainsbury Archivist at the Museum of London Docklands, said: "With a high number of digitisation projects underway, it was important to find a digital preservation solution for our archive that would protect records from technology and file format obsolescence, as well as provide wider internal access. We also needed a system that could connect with our existing catalogue, to avoid needing to re-key or copy metadata. For us, Preservica ticked all those boxes and more."

Mike Quinn, CEO of Preservica, added: "The Sainsbury Archive joins a rapidly growing number of business archives using Preservica's cloud-hosted active digital preservation platform. They are future-proofing unique digital assets to inform brand, corporate and business decisions today and in years to come. We're delighted to play a part in helping the Sainsbury Archive safeguard such an incredibly rich and important digital archive."

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