Store and Preserve

Store components temporarily store information that isn’t required, desired, or ready for long-term storage or preservation. Even if the Store component uses media that are suitable for long-term archiving, “Store” is separate from “Preserve.”

The Store components can be divided into three categories: Repositories as storage locations, Library Services as administration components for repositories, and Storage Technologies. These infrastructure components are sometimes held at the operating system level (for example, the file system), and also include security technologies that work together with the “Deliver” components. However, security technologies, including access control, are superior in rank components of an ECM solution.


Different kinds of ECM repositories can be used in combination. Among the possibilities are:

File Systems
File systems are used primarily for temporary storage, as input and output caches. ECM’s goal is to reduce the data burden on the file system, and make the information generally available through Manage, Store, and Preserve technologies.

Content Management Systems
This is the actual storage and repository system for content, which can be a database or a specialized storage system.

  • Databases
    For checking stored information for consistency.
  • Version management
    Databases administer access information, but can also be used for the direct storage of documents, content, or media assets.
  • Data Warehouses
    These are complex storage systems based on databases, which reference or provide information from all kinds of sources. They can also be designed with global functions, such as document or information warehouses.
  • Library Services

    Library services are the administrative components of the ECM system that handle access to information. The library service is responsible for taking in and storing information from the Capture and Manage components. It also manages the storage locations in dynamic storage, the actual “Store,” and in the long-term Preserve archive. The storage location is determined only by the characteristics and classification of the information. The library service works in concert with the Manage component’s database to provide the necessary functions of search and retrieval.

    While the database does not know the physical location of a stored object, the library service manages online storage (direct access to data and documents), near-line storage (data and documents on a medium that can be accessed quickly, but not immediately, such as data on an optical disc that is present in a storage system’s racks but not currently inserted in a drive that can read it), and offline storage (data and documents on a medium that is not quickly available, such as data stored offsite).

    If the document management system does not provide the functionality, the library service must have version management to control the status of information, and check-in/check-out, for controlled information provision.

    The library service generates logs of information usage and editing, called an “audit trail.”

Search and navigation
For finding information and its associated contexts.

Storage Technologies
A wide variety of technologies can be used to store information, depending on the application and system environment:

Magnetic Online Media
Hard drives, typically configured as RAID systems, may be locally attached, part of a storage area network (SAN), or mounted from another server (network-attached storage).

Magnetic Tape
Magnetic tape data storage, in the form of automated storage units called tape libraries, use robotics to provide near-line storage. Standalone tape drives may be used for backup, but not online access.

Digital optical media
Besides the common Compact Disc and DVD optical media in write-once or rewritable forms, Storage systems may use other specialized optical formats like magneto-optical drives for storage and distribution of data. Optical jukeboxes can be used for near-line storage. Optical media in jukeboxes can be removed, transitioning it from near-line to offline storage.

Cloud computing
Data can be stored on offsite cloud computing servers, accessed via the Internet.


Preserve involves the long-term, safe storage and backup of static, unchanging information. Preservation is typically accomplished by the records management features of an ECM system and many are designed to help companies comply with government and industry regulations.

Eventually, content ceases to change and becomes static. The preserve components of ECM handle the long-term, safe storage and backup of static information, as well as the temporary storage of information that does not need to be archived. Electronic archiving, a related concept, has substantially broader functionality than ECM Preserve components. Electronic archiving systems generally consist of a combination of administration software like records management, imaging or document management, library services or information retrieval systems, and storage subsystems.

Other forms of media are also suitable for long-term archiving. If the desire is merely to ensure information is available in the future, microfilm is still viable; unlike many digital records, microfilm is readable without access to the specialized software that created it. Hybrid systems combine microfilm with electronic media and database-supported /;

Long-term storage systems require the timely planning and regular performance of data migrations, in order to keep information available in the changing technical landscape. As storage technologies fall into disuse, information must be moved to newer forms of storage, so that the stored information remains accessible using contemporary systems. For example, data stored on floppy disks becomes essentially unusable if floppy disk drives are no longer readily available; migrating the data stored on floppy disks to Compact Discs preserves not only the data, but also the ability to access it. This ongoing process is called continuous migration.

The Preserve components contain special viewers, conversion and migration tools, and long term storage media:

Long term storage media

WORM optical disc
Write once read many (WORM) rotating digital optical storage media, including the 5.25-inch or 3.5-inch WORM disc in a protective sleeve, as well as CD-R and DVD-R. Recording methods vary for these media, which are held in jukeboxes for online and automated near-line access.

WORM tape
Magnetic tapes used in special drives, that can be as secure as optical write-once, read-many media if used properly with specially secured tapes.

WORM hard disk drive
Magnetic disk storage with special software protection against overwriting, erasure, and editing; delivers security similar to optical write-once, read-many media. This category includes content-addressable storage.

Storage networks
Storage networks, such as network-attached storage and storage area networks, can be used if they meet the requirements of edit-proof auditing with unchangeable storage and protection against manipulation and erasure.

Microforms like microfilm, microfiche, and aperture cards can be used to back up information that is no longer in use and does not require machine processing. It is typically used only to double-secure originally electronic information.

Paper still has use as a long-term storage medium, since it does not require migration, and can be read without any technical aids. In ECM systems, however, it is used only to double-secure originally electronic information.

Long term preservation strategies
To secure the long-term availability of information, different strategies are used for electronic archives.

The continuous migration of applications, index data, metadata and objects from older systems to new ones generates a lot of work,but secures the accessibility and usability of information. During this process, information that is no longer relevant can be deleted. Conversion technologies are used to update the format of the stored information, where needed.
Emulation of older software allows users to run and access the original data and objects. Special viewer software can identify the format of the preserved objects and can display the objects in the new software environment.

Standards for interfaces, metadata, data structures and object formats are important to secure the availability of information.