Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The ABCs of Digital Preservation

The ABCs of Digital Preservation. Jenny Mullins. Preservation Services at Dartmouth College. July 21, 2015.
     The purpose of the presentation was to introduce some basic digital preservation concepts, such as choosing file formats, file naming best practices, and the basics of preservation metadata. Also discussed were  tools and models for managing digital materials. The slides of the talk are available. “File extensions tell computers how to read, open and render files. If a file extension is wrong or missing, your computer will be confused. Digital Preservation is about not confusing your computer.”

Formats: Choose open, widely supported file formats:
  • Images: .tif, .png
  • Text: .pdf, .rtf, .txt
  • Audio: .wav
  • Video: .avi, MPEG-2 or 4
  • Spreadsheets: .csv, .ods
File Naming: Provide unique descriptive names; be consistent.  Only use letters, number, underscores, periods. Include version number or date.

Identify and Describe the content:
  • Provenance: How was it created, and by whom? How and why has it changed?
  • Context: How does this file relate to others? What is needed to understand it?
  • Descriptive: Who? What? Where? Why? When?
  • Technical: What are the file characteristics?
  • Rights: Who owns it? Who’s allowed to use it and for what purpose?
Some general resources...
There are many software tools and training materials available for large scale data preservation.

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