Friday, September 29, 2006

Weekly readings - 29 September 2006

Imaging technology restores 700-year-old sacred Hindu text. September 19, 2006.

Imaging techniques are being used to preserve an ancient Hindu text that is deteriorating due to age and improper storage and handling. The images are then being processed and stitched together. This will make opening the fragile book unnecessary in the future. The images are being stored electronically, in printed form, and etched on silicon wafers.

Brother, Can You Spare a Terabyte? Jennifer Schiff. Computerworld. September 28, 2006.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center is making available more than 400 TB of disk space and even more archival tape space for academic and scientific data. The center has a large production-level infrastructure and 24/7 staff that monitors the system. They can scale to be host large collections over a long period of time in a reliable environment. The center can also easily handle data migration. The resources that a person would need to acquire, such as equipment, staff, and a location, can be handled by the center. The current cost estimate is about $1,500 per terabyte per year . The cost for archival tape is much less, about $500 per terabyte per year, with retrieval time in minutes. "Our focus is on large-scale collections and nonprofit university scientific researchers as well as the digital preservation community."

Digital archiving gains new tool. BBC News. 26 September 2006.

The National Library of New Zealand and the British Library have created a tool that makes it easier to gather and store digital web sites. The web curator tool automates the process of collecting and storing information. It will be available to other organizations as open source by the end of the year. Web harvesting will become more important as more people try to preserve web pages, which is often difficult to do. One obstacle to digital archives is current copyright legislation.

Fujitsu announces petabyte-size disk array with encryption. Sharon Fisher. Computerworld. September 25, 2006.

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. has announced a petabyte-size storage array with native encryption. They use 128-bit AES keys, which are also encrypted and stored on the disk drive. The arrays are available now starting at $24,500. Some users with high security needs are uneasy about the possibility of losing access to their data once it is encrypted.

British Library shouts out against unfair DRM. Alun Williams. 26 September 2006.

The British Library is continuing its campaign against the threat of digital rights management technology to the management of UK cultural data. The technology is unforgiving for libraries and public bodies, and threatens innovation, research and our digital heritage. The law does not permit copying of sound or film items for preservation. Without the right for libraries and archives to make copies, she maintained, the UK risks losing a large part of its recorded culture. The recommendations include: existing limitations and exceptions to copyright law should be extended to the digital environment; licenses to digital material should not undermine fair use and preservation purposes. Also, the copyright term for sound recordings should not be extended 'without empirical evidence of the benefits and due consideration of the needs of society as a whole', and that the copyright term for reproducing unpublished works should be the same as for published works. Contracts for digital material generally are more restrictive than existing copyright law and can prevent copying, archiving and access by the visually impaired.

British Library calls for digital copyright action. Tom Espiner. CNET News. September 25, 2006.

The British Library has called for a "serious updating of copyright law to recognize the changing technological environment”. Digital rights management technologies and licensing agreements can impose restrictions that go beyond copyright law. The technology is overriding exceptions to copyright law and can't be circumvented for disabled access or preservation; the technology doesn't expire as does traditional copyright. These restrictions can be particularly damaging for academic research.

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