Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Space" constraints may limit minutes on web

As I mentioned a few days ago, Council meeting minutes are up on the town website. Unfortunately, while voters may appreciate the long overdue transparency... there's already pushback from Town Hall staff:

“There is a distinct possibility that we could have a space problem in terms of archiving the information... It really depends on how long we have to archive it for.”

But I'm not an expert on technology. So while I've heard that the "space" issue is effectively irrelevant with current technology, I can't speak to this knowledgably.

I point out though that there's a heckuva lotta "data" stored on this blog. And I don't pay one penny for it. So that says to me that space is a non-issue, if it's available for free.

Does anyone know if space is a legitimate issue?

Tim White


Chipmaker said...

Storage capacity is an issue if the people in charge are out of their depth and don't know what to do. There are solutions out there, however.

Capacity can become an issue if storing video, because that does eat up a lot of volume. Audio, pics, or text, however, are very compressible.

Quality of service from the town gov't's internet provider.

And duration of archive is a real question that should be answered, though this is more for legal reasons than for storage issues. How long is the town obliged to hold on to materials? How about digital, on-line versions? If there has to be permanent records, maybe set up a policy of a once-a-year dump -- print out everything, make a digital copy onto archive-quality DVD -- store that, and clear out files that simply are not being accessed or are past the expiry time (perhaps, seven years; that's a rather standard limit in certain businesses).

Material of continuing interest, of immediate need, for permanent reference, or involved in current litigation, should always remain available, among others. But a lot of the stuff is dried paint, so box it up.

tim white said...

Thanks CM. Makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Most of the material to be placed on the town web site will reside on a disk drive and probably will also be backed up on other disk drives. Today drives are not expensive. How many pages of material will the town store and how many pages a month will the initial number of pages grow by? How many kBs will a typical WORD document use? One page might take 20kBs. Hard drives as large as 1TB go for about $125 dollars. 1TB is about ~1,000 GB. 1GB is ~1,000 MB. 1MB is ~1,000 KB. One page goes into 1,000 KB about 50 times (pages). So a single 1 TB drive which consumes a space of 5.78" x 4.0" x 1.02" saves a small forest of paper! Also eliminates lots of file and table space for paper copy activity too. Must be really GREEN too.

So, if the town uses someone else’s servers for the town web site the town only needs to hire the lowest responsive bidder and start loading its materials. If the town owns its own servers they probably need to install a couple of not very expensive drives assuming they have software which actually can work with a large drive.

Anonymous said...

Space is a non-issue. Anyone claiming space is a problem has no idea what they are talking about with storage costs of under 15 cents per gigabyte in today's marketplace.

If the town IT department can't handle storage of minutes they probably shouldn't be trusted with much of anything, especially not complicated road paving software.

Anonymous said...

For minutes, it's a non-issue. Anyone who says otherwise just does not want to make it work.