Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Digital ‘Library of Alexandria’

A Digital ‘Library of Alexandria’. Katie McNally. UVAToday. February 10, 2016.
     "Scholars often lament the knowledge that might have been preserved if the great Library of Alexandria had been better protected."  Digital collections face a similar threat of "steady extinction" because of technological obsolescence. One safeguard is the Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust) which is "a large-scale solution that preserves digital scholarship by storing it across multiple technologies and physical locations." The primary goal is to package and preserve information in a way so it will be accessible to future generations.  Besides proper description, “Deep dark preservation” refers to all the pieces needed to "effectively archive a digital file and the technology it runs on for future use."  So the digital preservation is really a phased thing: address those items which can be done quickly, then work on the more difficult problems, such as finding ways to preserve the software that makes digital objects accessible. Emulation environments are being worked on to keep old software running. 

APTrust stores files in two separate Amazon data centers, one in Virginia and one in Oregon, and each of these use different technologies to store the data, to help protect against the "failure of future and modern technologies.” [APTrust is also one of the DPN nodes.]

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