Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Due to the rapid evolution of technology, future digital systems may not be able to read and/or interpret the digital recordings made by older systems, even if those recordings are still in good condition. This thesis addresses the problem of maintaining long-term access to digital documents and provides a methodology for overcoming access difficulties due to technological obsolescence. A review was conducted to determine the long-term access methods that have already been suggested by other researchers. These previously suggested methods are then combined with other ideas that were encountered and conceived while performing research for this project. The combination of these methods and ideas led to the creation of a model, the Digital Rosetta Stone, that provides a methodology for maintaining long-term access to digital documents. The hypothesis for the model is that knowledge preserved about different storage devices and file formats can be used to recover data from obsolete media and to reconstruct the digital documents. The Digital Rosetta Stone model describes three processes that are necessary for maintaining long-term access to digital documents in their native formats--knowledge preservation, data recovery, and document reconstruction. Finally, recommendations are made for the evaluation and implementation of the Digital Rosetta Stone.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management of the Air Force Institute of Technology