Lessons Learned in Born-Digital Preservation

Miguel Beltran


As more government documents are created in digital mediums, it is increasingly important that agencies could preserve and make them available to the public. This article discusses one group of government documents related to the war in Afghanistan and the landscape that would potentially preserve them. Based on the current conditions, there is a possibility that these documents and those of a similar nature may be overlooked and lost to future generations.

In 2019, a series of articles published by The Washington Post provided an outlook of the war in Afghanistan mostly unknown to the public entitled “At War with the Truth.” Citing government documents, they [the documents] reveal, that despite the oversight of three presidential administrations, billions of dollars spent, and thousands of lives lost, the government failed to tell the truth about the conflict through its first eighteen years. Drawn primarily from the Lessons Learned Reports produced by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (S.I.G.A.R) and various other government documents, a story unfolds of inconsistent strategy amplified by intentionally misinforming the public about the war’s progress. These documents were largely unclassified until The Washington Post sought to obtain them through a Freedom of Information Act request prompting the government to then restrict some documents. A move that was overturned following a nearly three-year legal battle.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/dttp.v51i3.8124


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