Museums and The Cloud
Should museums be utilizing cloud storage for their digital assets? There are several deployment models (public, private, community, hybrid) and service models (software, platform, infrastructure, and backup) all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages for museums. This paper examines a few cloud service providers (Amazon, Shared Shelf, Preservica, and ResourceSpace) along with other forms of storage on-site (NAS, SAN, and DAS) that are available. By understanding what a museum needs for digital preservation of their digital assets it will allow the museum to determine if the cloud would be appropriate for their digital collection. This paper describes whether and how several museums have decided for or against cloud services (Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Minnesota Historical Society, Harvard University, and the Walters Museum of Art in Baltimore, Maryland). Analysis of how the museums use the cloud, alternative solutions, and what museums should be asking before using the cloud, such as legal restrictions and types of digital assets being stored, will provide some insight and help museums decide if the cloud is a plausible option.