Friday, February 23, 2007

Weekly readings - 23 February 2007

Google Study Examines Effects on PC Hard Drives. Mark Hachman. ExtremeTech. February 20, 2007.

Disk drives are generally reliable, but a study shows that current methods of predicting hard drive failure are almost ineffective, while basic disk checks can show if a drive is about to fail. The study looked at over 100,000 drives from different manufacturers over a 5 year period. There was no clear pattern to show that higher temperatures, higher utilization or activity levels affected the failure rate. Lower temperatures and very high temperatures had more failures. Scan errors and reallocation checks were a better indication that a drive would fail. If there is even one scan error, there is a significantly higher rate of failure within 60 days. Drive failure is important to deal with, as over 90% of all new information is stored on hard drives and other magnetic media.

MP3's Loss, Open Source's Gain. Eliot Van Buskirk. Wired. February 23, 2007.

Alcatel-Lucent was awarded $1.52 billion by a federal jury in an MP3 patent infringement suit against Microsoft, even though they licensed the software from Fraunhofer/Thomson, the industry-recognized licensee of MP3. The result will be appealed. But if upheld, it could start an all-out licensing / lawsuit campaign. It could possibly extend to all companies involved with MP3 encoding or playback. This uncertainty could move the industry away from MP3, and that could be beneficial for open source software or other formats. Some of these are:

  • Ogg Vorbis, (open-source with better sound quality, but royalty questions)
  • AAC (based on MPEG-4, it has greater fidelity at higher compression rates)
  • Window’s Media format

But the patent questions could extend to other software as well, which could influence the use of open source software. [See James Hilton’s speech at OR2007]

Why organizations need to archive email. White paper. GFI Website. February 22, 2007.

Emails have become the electronic substitutes of legal business documentation and the correspondence constitutes a record which has a retention period. A ‘true’ email archiving system will automatically extract and index the content of the message and attachments from emails, stores the email in read-only format so it cannot be changed. This also decreases the online email storage. Backups and archives are not the same; backups are to guard against system failure, while archives protect the data so it can be accessed when needed and can restrict access to authorized users. Email archives are important for compliance issues, litigation support, and storage / knowledge management. An email archive should have:

  • Minimal user intervention and automatic processing
  • Ability to index, search, and retrieve records and attachments
  • Data retention selection and control by policies
  • Security and authenticity which must include ability to restrict access
  • End-user and management access to archives
  • Support for multiple messaging platforms

Medieval Stained Glass in Great Britain. AHDS Website. February 22, 2007.

A major digitization project has added over 18,000 images of stained glass windows in Britain to the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) website. The site now contains about 80,000 digital images. AHDS has a number of projects that involve digital preservation. One project is POSSE (Preserve Our Student Shows for Eternity) which is to provide long term access to student degree shows. Other resources available include: The Guides to Good Practice which provides recommendations for creating and managing digital resources. AHDS has conducted a Digital Images Archiving Study with JISC. Their deposit forms and guidelines are online, along with other preservation resources which are also available.

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