Friday, May 22, 2015

Saving the digital record

Saving the digital record. Kate Kondayen. Harvard Gazette. May 8, 2015.
Ensuring that digital content lives on past its initial platform is one of the most pressing issues in preservation science. This is an increasingly urgent task. Collections are increasingly coming to libraries with digital material that is already on the brink of decline. Digital degradation doesn’t follow a steady curve like physical items; it may happen suddenly and no one is sure just when that point is.

To retrieve content from an obsolete format, three components are needed: hardware, software, and a skilled technician. Many are turning to digital forensic tools. One open-source tool is XENA (Xml Electronic Normalising for Archives) which recognizes hundreds of old and unusual file formats and migrates them to current standard formats. "Even when the content is retrieved, the original media may need to be retained. Advancements now allow retrieval of content on formats that previously were written off as lost causes."

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