Friday, September 16, 2005

Sept 16, 2005

Technology Watch Report: Preservation Metadata. Brian Lavoie. Digital Preservation Coalition. September 2005.

Preservation metadata is the information that supports and documents the long-term preservation of digital materials, especially:

· Provenance: Origin and history, and chain of custody

· Authenticity: The document is what it is supposed to be and has not been altered

· Preservation activity: What was done to preserve the item and what the effects were

· Technical environment: The hardware or software to read the document

· Rights management: Any limitations on preserving or accessing the materials

It makes the archive self documenting. The metadata will accumulate over time. Automated tools are needed for preservation metadata to keep costs from rising to prohibitive levels. We must be able to distinguish preservation metadata from other types. “Preservation metadata is descriptive, structural, and

administrative metadata that supports the long-term preservation of digital materials.” Preservation metadata is important because digital items are technology dependant, they are easily altered, and they are bound by intellectual property rights. There is often a brief window of opportunity in which to act. Digital preservation activities are often to avert damage before it happens, rather than repair it later. It is difficult to anticipate what metadata will be needed over time. Preservation metadata requires we “get it right” the first time.

A preservation metadata schema must be comprehensive, oriented toward implementation, and interoperable. Metadata plays an important role in preserving content long term and using it. The OAIS model is based on the information packet and establishes preservation metadata. PREMIS helps relate the theory and practice of preservation metadata. METS, a metadata standard, is an XML based structure that can store the metadata, either internally in the METS file, or referenced externally. It is cheaper and more efficient to collect metadata on an item when it is most readily available. We need to explore collaborative methods of gathering and sharing metadata. Resources need to be continually tested and refined.

Preserving The Archive - A Race Against Time. WAMU radio interview. August 19, 2005. [Audio]

Interview with Michael Taft, Head of the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress and Matthew Barton, an Audio Engineer. They have mountains of material to deal with. As technology progresses, they can do more with some of these recordings. They have about 100,000 audio items in the collection and possibly only transferred about 5%. Digital transfer is about preserving these items. None of these media were meant to last forever, and most of the media used were not for professional use. It is a race against time to preserve the items before they are lost. A CD is just another medium that will deteriorate over time, and when it goes it really goes, not like a wax cylinder that you can still listen to as it degrades. We don’t throw out the original, because there may be new ways of getting the recordings off the media, such as taking a digital image of a broken phonograph album and being able to recreate the music.

Expanding the Stage for Political Theater. Jerome McDonough. Bija Gutoff. Apple. September 2005.

Description of a project to “to preserve and make available on a global basis” these cultural documents. The number of scholars whose work depends on video documentation is increasing. “But videos don’t last very long. Without the digital library, these performances are not only inaccessible for study, but they’re in danger of disintegrating.” “We want to preserve these materials for the long term — and in the library world, long term means 300 to 500 years!”

They try to capture performances as 4:2:2 uncompressed 10-bit files, but the large files must be compressed to put on DVD or the Internet. They hope to create uncompressed masters on hard drives, and move away from DigiBeta. “When you throw out color information during sampling, you’re using lossy compression; then, each time you change formats, you introduce artifacts that can damage the video stream. But if we capture the complete video signal, we’ll be able to migrate to new formats without having to worry about introducing artifacts.” “Having access to these performances is vital to scholars who want to achieve a deeper understanding of the cultural and political life of the Americas.” “By bringing all this material together in one place, making it publicly available and ensuring that it will live on and be available in the future, our library is making a real contribution to scholarship in the world.

Web ARchive Access (WERA). Website. Nordic Web Archive. August 31, 2005.

WERA is a tool for searching and displaying archived collections of web documents. The documents can also include different versions of the same document. An overview shows the dates of the various versions. The archived web documents are stored in ARC files. The tool is freely available for download.

Samsung Predicts End Of Hard Drives. Chris Mellor. Computerworld. September 13, 2005.,4902,104582,00.html?nlid=HW2

Samsung has just created a 16GB flash chip, and expects that computer hard drives will be replaced by solid-state flash memory. Flash memory continues to double its density about every 12 months. Laptop memory cards with 32GB of memory should be available in 2006 or 2007. Here is a link with more information on flash memory and how it works.

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