Digital Archives

All things digital in terms of archival theory and practice.

Guarding the Guards: Archiving the Electronic Records of Hypertext Author Michael Joyce

In June of 2006, Thomas Kiehne and Catherine Stollar were selected to present the results of work performed the previous year at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas to a colloquium assembled by the Society of American Archivists and the National Archives and Records Administration. The following is the case study that was presented.

Update: This text was re-published by SAA in the proceedings from the "New Skills for a Digital Era" colloquium.

From Floppies to Repository: A Transition of Bits

A Case Study in Preserving the Michael Joyce Digital Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Thomas Kiehne, Vivian Spoliansky, Catherine Stollar

The University of Texas at Austin

In January of 2005, three students at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information undertook a project to preserve the electronic files of hypertext author Michael Joyce for the Harry Ransom Center, an art and humanities focused archives located on the UT campus. Thomas Kiehne, Vivian Spoliansky and Catherine Stollar, the students involved in the project, spent five months preparing, arranging, describing and ingesting—into an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) called DSpace—Joyce’s digital files for preservation. The following is a report on the methods, problems and suggestions we developed while participating in the Joyce Project.

Digital Preservation Plan for the Texas Legacy Project

This plan was commissioned during the Spring of 2005 on behalf of the Conservation History Association of Texas (CHAT), a non-profit entity based in Austin, Texas. CHAT desired a comprehensive plan to ensure the long-term preservation of hundreds of hours worth of digital video and audio comprising the association's collected works. The plan includes a needs assessment and inventory of the assets in place and a review of the literature concerning digital media, storage hardware, software formats, and digital repositories.

An OAIS Ingest Metadata Specification

Problem Definition

For this exercise, we will prepare a digital object for submission to a digital archive for long term preservation. The digital object in question is an HTML text with an in-line image and links to several other HTML texts. The objects must be readable, but the specific look and feel of the rendered text is not important. We are to generate a metadata set that will conform to ingest requirements for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) according to a Submission Information Package (SIP) agreement. Additionally, we will consider the process for converting a SIP into an Archival Information Package (AIP) and extend the metadata set with additional elements for the conversion process, as needed.

Technologies of Access and the Cultural Record

"Celestial Jukebox" or Digital Dark Age?

A Question of Information Access

Technologies of access redefine the social and cultural aspects of information access. Areas directly affected by this shift include fair use of copyrighted works and the balance of control over statutory rights. Considered over the duration of copyright, the long-term effects of new access regimes could be more extreme. Assuming that technological controls prevail over the public interest in information access, several questions must be asked: Can public access be preserved as information becomes predominantly digital? If not, does our society face a scenario where knowledge and our collective cultural record will be preserved only to the extent that it is profitable?

TEI Lite History and Evaluation

New and disparate ways of digitally encoding texts were developed as computing became available to scholars of the humanities in the 1980s. The encoding of textual objects into a digital form creates opportunities for examining old and rare texts simultaneously and without the risk of wear or damage to the original object. Additionally, an encoded object permits new ways of interacting with the text, such as concurrent views of different versions and viewing subsequent editorial or annotations. The lack of standard methods for encoding and describing texts made it difficult for researchers to exchange objects and diminished the benefits that the digital format offers.