Monday, September 21, 2015

Archiving a digital history

Archiving a digital history: Preserving Penn State’s heritage one link at a time. Katie Jacobs Bohn. Penn State News. September 18, 2015.
     Archivists need a way to preserve digital artifacts so future historians have access to them. This includes content on the internet that can disappear in a short time. Archive-It is a service Penn State archivists are using to make copies of Web pages and arrange them in collections. They want to digitally preserve their cultural heritage, including the University’s academic and administrative information that is published on the Web.

“Web archiving is important because so much of Penn State’s media is ‘born digital,’ or in other words, there’s never a physical copy."  “But we still need a way to keep and preserve this material so it’s not lost forever.” Some quotes from the article:
  • Preservation requires more than just backup. 
  • "Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s hard to know what digital archiving will look like 50 years from now, let alone hundreds."
  • “In the right environment, paper will last hundreds of years, but digital information has a lot of dependencies. To be able to access digital files in the future, you may need a certain kind of hardware and operating system, a compatible version of the software to open the file, not to mention electricity.” 
  • “A lot of digital preservation work involves mitigating the risks associated with these dependencies. For example, trying to use open file formats so you don’t need specific software programs that may no longer be around to access them.”
Regardless of what they are trying to preserve, archivists have difficulties with trying to manage the ephemeral nature of culture and history.

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