Digital Preservation

An Emulation Experiment

Through my technical work and experience with preservation projects, I feel that I have a good grasp of migration as a digital preservation strategy. Unfortunately, I have much less functional experience with emulation as a digital preservation strategy. The concept of running a virtual machine within the physical resources of another is intuitive enough, but I have as yet had no real experience with a full emulation environment.

Software Activation, DRM, and Implications for Digital Preservation

It's time again for another installment in my ongoing audio encoding project saga. For some time now I have been on the verge of the next phase of the project, which involves encoding the remaining analog sound objects in my collection, specifically cassette tapes and vinyl records. Procrastination, combined with a serious dose of being busy with other things, has delayed my progress on this phase of the project, but one technical aspect has also proved crucial.

Slashdot: Archiving Digital Data an Unsolved Problem

The headline on a front page post on Slashdot today reads:

"Archiving Digital Data an Unsolved Problem"

which links to this article in Popular Mechanics. For archivists, this headline states the obvious, but the words betray how the technology sector, at least stereotypically, views archives and backups as equivalent. Wading through the comments (and discarding the obligatory comical entries), we find a rather robust discussion on digital preservation, sans academic terminology. All the familiar preservation topics -- Migration, emulation, media and file formats, genres, the influence of intellectual property law -- are touched upon, if rather superficially. One commenter brought up the issue of compression in digital archives, but it seems that none have touched the DRM issue (I'll have to remedy that).

That said, however, it is encouraging to see this article highlighted on one of the premiere tech blogs as well as in Popular Mechanics. It's going to take quite a bit more exposure to digital preservation problems in the tech community to get the point across -- to impart the long view, as it were -- but this is a good start.

Reflections on the SAA 2006 Annual Conference - Part I

Last week I breezed through Washington, DC to attend the SAA/NAGARA/CoSA Joint Conference. Last year at this time, I attended the SAA conference as a new, student member and, as it was my first ever professional conference, I spent most of the time trying to acclimate myself to the conference ebb and flow. This year I've committed to taking better notes, talking a bit more, and, of course, sharing my observations here.

PAT Project Lessons Learned, Part 2

I first heard about the Persistent Archives Testbed (PAT) Project at the SAA Annual Meeting in August 2005. The project merges the efforts of several large institutions -- NHPRC, NARA, SDSC, etc. -- in an effort to test data grid technology as a means of federated archival storage. In two of the more recent issues of Archival Outlook published by SAA, the a question has been posed to two different groups. The question is roughly: what skills are needed to work with electronic records; The two groups asked were archivists and IT professionals. In light of my recent musings, and the upcoming colloquium in Washington D.C., I took great interest in the most recent article.