Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Preserving the public record on television is becoming an ever-more-urgent task

The Devolution Will Be Televised. Peter B. Kaufman and Jeff Ubois. The Nation. October 18, 2017.
     Preserving the public record on television is an increasingly critical challenge for the country and the world because it is a primary source that historians and others will rely on to document this administration. Audio and video will be a major part of the public record for this time period. "There is no question that, as we look to the end of this century and how our time will be remembered, we will look back at our news and our culture through moving image and recorded sounds."

Preserving the public audiovisual record on television, and all audiovisual media is urgent task, especially for memory institutions. Moving images are the most popular form of media today: over 80 percent of web traffic is video. Many professionals and organizations are working on this, but strong funding mechanisms are weak or missing. In October 1997, the Library of Congress issued its first report, “Television and Video Preservation 1997” the need for preserving these materials. The American broadcasting records are historical and cultural materials which are "a key to understanding our civilization”.  Many film and audiovisual assets were already being lost due to media degradation and equipment obsolescence.

National strategies are needed for publishing and distributing our digitized and born-digital archival material.  "As the recent scrubbing of government websites has shown, we must rely on non-governmental institutions to help ensure that our archives are never permanently altered to reflect political expediencies. Indeed, we should ensure that the video records of presidential press conferences, banking debates, foreign-policy debates, and all such public activity is preserved and remains accessible to future citizens, journalists, and political figures. We need to recommit to preserving all of our televised triumphs and tragedies."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Personal Digital Archiving Guide Part 2: Media Types and File Formats

Personal Digital Archiving Guide Part 2: Media Types and File Formats.  Scott David Witmer. Bits and Pieces. August 15, 2017.
     This helpful follow-up post focuses on “born-digital” files created on the computer, and the "characteristics of digital file formats that you should consider when deciding how to preserve your digital materials".  For information on digitizing, it links to guides and handouts, including scanning, recommendations, audio conversion, video conversion, storage, and others.

"The best time to think about preservation is before you create your files." Making decisions early, including organization and metadata, will make it easier to preserve digital files over time.  The post reviews:
  • The trade off between Quality vs. Size of digital files
  • Lossless versus lossy compression
  • File Formats by Media Type
  • Formats for Text, Image, email, audio, video
 Metadata is also important. Be consistent and descriptive when naming or grouping files.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Personal Digital Archiving Guide Part 1: Preservation Planning

Personal Digital Archiving Guide Part 1: Preservation Planning. Scott David Witmer. Bits and Pieces. April 26, 2017.
     Digital materials require active intervention if we want to be able to use them over time. Technology is constantly changing, digital files are at risk because of  accidental deletion or disaster. Having a preservation plan can help avoid data loss. "Do what makes the most sense to you to manage your own digital materials. Even if it’s not practical for you to follow all of these steps, any amount of effort to preserve your digital material is better than none!"
  • Identify: What digital materials do you want to save? 
  • Gather: Where are the digital files you want to keep? Gather all of the files you want to save onto one hard drive. Makes copies of them on other devices. 
  • Select: Decide what you want to keep. 
  • Organize: Know what the files are and where to find them. Descriptive information will help. Give the files meaningful names group files together. 
  • Back-up Storage: After the files are gathered and organized, back them up. Follow the 3-2-1 Rule: Make 3 copies and 2 additional copies of all the files. Use 2 different types of storage media, such as an external hard drive or in cloud storage. Put one of the copies in a different location from the other 2 copies.
  • Check the files periodically to make sure they are still usable, especially right after you back them up.  
  • Update your long-term digital storage to a new storage device every 5–7 years, as significant upgrades in technology occur.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Five Organizational Stages for Digital Preservation

The Five Organizational Stages of Digital Preservation. Anne R. Kenney & Nancy Y. McGovern. "Digital Libraries: A Vision for the 21st Century..." 2003.
     I have been re-reading this interesting paper in preparation for an upcoming presentation, and realize the great information in it and the opportunity to reflect on where we are and where we are going. Some notes and quotes that I really like:
  • The world is becoming increasingly dependent on digital information.... Despite the increasing evidence documenting the fragility and ubiquity of digital content, cultural repositories have been slow to respond to the need to safeguard digital heritage materials.
  • Of all the preservation challenges facing us, none is more pressing than developing workable solutions to digital preservation.
  • The reason for the lag in institutional response to the problem "lies in the fact that most of the attention given to digital preservation has focused on technology as both the root of the problem and the basis for the solution."
  • The technological methods "that reduce things to on or off status— either you have a solution or you do not. This either/or assessment gives little consideration to the effort required to reach the on stage, to a phased approach for reaching the on stage, or to differences in institutional settings. Nor does it take into account that a partial program at one institution may represent a fully mature program at another."
  • The goal of digital preservation is to maintain the ability to display, retrieve, and use digital material in the face of rapidly changing technological and organizational infrastructures. Unfortunately, there is no single best way to do just that, nor is there agreement on long-term solutions.
  • In this paper, we describe five definable stages that cultural repositories will pass through on their way to developing a fully mature digital preservation program. 
  • Each of these stages is clearly delineated, characterized by key attributes and organizational responses. Some of the stages may be shortened, and an institution may be further advanced in one aspect over another, but they must all be passed through and in the same sequence.
  • The Five Organizational Stages:  The five stages of organizational response to digital preservation are:
    1. Acknowledge: Understanding that digital preservation is a local concern;
    2. Act: Initiating digital preservation projects;
    3. Consolidate: Seguing from projects to programs;
    4. Institutionalize: Incorporating the larger environment; and
    5. Externalize: Embracing inter-institutional collaboration and dependency.
  • Perhaps the most immediately valuable contribution of the Trusted Digital Repository report is the framework of TDR attributes. The six attributes of the TDR framework are: administrative responsibility, organizational viability, financial sustainability, technological and procedural suitability, system security, and procedural accountability. 
  • The report defines the characteristics of each attribute that together address core legal, economic, technical, and other organizational issues, and break what is often presented as the monolithic digital preservation problem into manageable parts. 
  • A notable feature is that technology is not the central focus or first consideration in the framework.
  • Organizational stages for digital preservation have the potential to provide a more effective communication tool, to define a metric for quantifying progress towards a comprehensive digital preservation program, and to establish benchmarks for setting organizational goals.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Digital Preservation, Eh?

Digital Preservation, Eh? Alexandra Jokinen. bloggERS! February 14, 2017.    
     This is a post about international perspectives on digital preservation and about digital preservation in an institution in Canada. One way they are working on digital preservation, which they see as a very large, very complex (but exciting!) endeavour is to "start on a small scale, focusing on the processing of digital objects within a single collection, and then using those experiences to create documentation and workflows for different aspects of the digital archives program."  They chose one collection to start with and the first area of focus was appraisal. Their next step will be to physically organize the material, and the final steps will be to take the born-digital content that has been collected and create Archival Information Packages for storage and preservation with Archivematica . They want to "ensure that solid policies and procedures are in place for maintaining a trustworthy digital preservation system in the future."

Monday, October 09, 2017

Cultural Heritage and Digital Preservation

Iron Mountain And CyArk Join Forces To Digitally Preserve Fort York For Generations To Come. Press Release. IT Business Net. October 04, 2017.
      Fort York is a historical site laden with rich Canadian history. To ensure future generations can continue to learn about and experience the site, it is being preserved in an online virtual library, along with other world heritage sites.  The technology uses 3D laser scanning, photogrammetry, and traditional survey techniques to create an online, 3D library of the world's cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression, or ravaged by the passage of time.  In addition, the project will also use virtual reality technology to "transform Fort York into a living legacy". These efforts are part of how they ensure cultural heritage sites will be available for future generations to experience, while making them uniquely accessible today.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Church Preserves Precious Records of African Nation

Church Preserves Precious Records of African Nation. Newsroom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 28 September 2017.  [YouTube]
     In Freetown, Sierra Leone, paper records dating back to the early 1800s are disintegrating at an alarming rate due to poor storage conditions, heat, humidity and frequent handling. The staff often pool money just to keep the lights on one or two days a week and were making a “frantic effort” to preserve copies of records by hand. “I had my heart broken because of the conditions of how these records are kept and the way that the people are working here, giving the best of themselves to preserve what they can for people and families of Sierra Leone.”  Despite valiant efforts by dedicated caretakers, rampant deterioration of the tattered records threatened to obliterate the very history of the nation. This changed with a plea from the government of Sierra Leone to the LDS president, asking for help in preserving the at-risk records.

The Church approved a project to image the dilapidated birth and death records and make them available online. FamilySearch has began the process of digitizing records in Freetown and in towns and remote villages across the country, and works with interfaith leaders such as The Catholic Church which has opened its record vaults to be part of the preservation project. “Any kind of record at all is crucially important because it becomes a database for future generations.” The preservation project will preserve some 4 million records.  FamilySearch is engaged in similar digitizing projects in countries all over Africa.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Exploring Digital Preservation, Digital Curation, and Digital Collections in Mexico

Exploring Digital Preservation, Digital Curation, and Digital Collections in Mexico. Natalie Baur. bloggERS! February 22, 2017.    
     This is a post about international perspectives on digital preservation and relating to the state of digital preservation initiatives and digital information access in Mexico. Interviews were conducted with organizations working on building, managing, sharing and preserving their digital collections. The findings indicate:
  • The focus on digital collection building and preservation in business and government tends toward records management approaches. 
    • "While the guidelines and processes for paper records are robust, many institutions are only beginning to implement and use electronic records management platforms."
    • Long-term digital preservation of permanent records designated is an ongoing challenge.
  • In academic, archives, and cultural heritage institutions, digital collection work is focused on digitization, storage and access of digitized assets, as well as issues related to long-term, sustainable maintenance of digital collections.
  • While digital preservation issues are still in the early stage of development. In Mexico and Latin America, this has mostly been done through participation in the InterPARES project. Several Mexican academic and government institutions have taken the lead on digital preservation issues, and a more cohesive, intentional organization progress in the near future.
"It is now more crucial than ever for librarians, archivists, developers, administrators, and program leaders to look outside of the United States for collaborations and opportunities to learn with and from colleagues abroad." We need to share resources, perspectives, diversity, and world wide improvements.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Exploring Metadata Interoperability in the United States and United Kingdom

Exploring Metadata Interoperability in the United States and United Kingdom. Charlotte Kostelic. bloggERS! March 28, 2017.    
     A post about international perspectives on digital preservation. It looks at a comparative analysis of descriptive metadata for collections and specifically understanding how metadata can aid in providing access to digitized collections and inter-operable access for the collections. One goal of this analysis was to find a common data model for the various collections.
  • The standards used by the partner institutions include: 
    • Encoded Archival Description (EAD) with DACS for archival collections in the United States; 
    • ISAD(G) for archival collections in the United Kingdom; 
    • MARC for bibliographic, map, serial, and print collections; and 
    • Dublin Core employed for certain digital collections records. 
    • There are additional library and museum standards that need to be analyzed further.
  • Key access points include: subject headings; dates; languages; and place, personal, and corporate names.
  • The level of description between collections varies based on whether or not the materials are from archival collections or library collections.
There is a need for inter-operability between collections that use different data models, especially in an institution that intends to make all collections accessible in a single viewer.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Electronic Records Management Guidelines: Long-Term Preservation

Electronic Records Management Guidelines: Long-Term Preservation. March 2012, Version 5. Minnesota Historical Society. [Guidelines - Contents]
     Over the course of time, organizations generate many records. Some are of short term duration while others are to be kept permanently. “Tools such as migration, conversion, metadata, and eXtensible Markup Language (XML) will help you not only preserve your records, but also realize their full value.” Records need to be preserved, since “the greatest possible access to certain government information and data is essential to allow citizens to participate fully in a democratic system of government.”   

Some key concepts presented in the section on Long-Term Preservation:
  1. Needs Assessment. Understanding the value of the records and the information they contain will help guide decisions, determine their retention requirements, the access and use of the records, as well as preservation options. 
  2. Physical Storage Options. Record access requirements will help determine the type of storage to use, specifically
    1. Online storage. Immediately available on the network
    2. Near-line storage.  Records are stored in automated optical disk or tapes libraries attached to a network.
    3. Offline storage.  Records are stored on removable media that must be retrieved manually.
  3. File Format Options. For long-term file preservation, non-proprietary formats are preferred, but they also have limitations.
  4. Digital Preservation Techniques. There are several approaches to ensure that electronic records remain useful over time.
    1. Emulation. Using emulator programs to simulate the behavior, of original programs.
    2. Encapsulation. Combining the object to be preserved with all of the necessary details of how to interpret it within a wrapper or package.
    3. Migration. This is the more common approach, which is the process of  moving files to new media or computer systems to maintain their use. 
  5. Preservation Planning.  “A preservation plan should address an institution’s overall preservation goals and provide a framework that defines the methods used to reach those goals.  At a minimum, the plan should define the collections covered by the plan, list the requirements of the records, practices and standards that are being followed, documentation of policies and procedures related to preservation activities, and staff responsibility for each preservation action.” This plan needs constant updating and cost/benefits must be addressed. Policies should be developed to put the plan into practice.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Consortial Certification Processes: the Goportis Digital Archive: a Case Study

Consortial Certification Processes: the Goportis Digital Archive—a Case Study. Franziska Schwab, Yvonne Tunnat, and Dr. Thomas Gerdes. bloggERS! February 7, 2017.
     Another blog post on the international perspectives on digital preservation and about digital preservation in Germany and repository certification . The certification of their digital archive is part of the quality management and all workflows are evaluated. The certification process shows that the long-term availability of the data is ensured, and the digital archive is trustworthy. They have completed the certification processes for the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) which took over six months. They are working on the application for the nestor Seal which is much more complex and requires more detailed information.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Developing a Citizen Archive

Developing a Citizen Archive.  Anssi Jääskeläinen, Miia Kosonen, and Liisa Uosukainen. bloggERS! February 1, 2017.
     A blog post on the international perspectives on digital preservation and about digital preservation in Finland. They believe there is a need for a digital preservation service to give citizens the right to decide what to do with their personal information. They believe there is a problem of just using cloud storage and are creating the Citizen Archive to solve this problem. "Cloud storage services especially have surged in popularity in recent years, but these services are not OAIS-compliant, have no support for metadata schema such as METS and PREMIS, and make no guarantee that the data or user-generated metadata uploaded will remain safe or searchable."

 This is a personal archive which provides more than just information storage and retrieval. "It represents other important values, such as legacy building, protecting against loss of important personal data, and constructing personal identity". Another important aspect of modern family heritage is in providing digital interaction between family members; they have developed a workflow to convert Outlook emails to PDF/A files. They are also trying to address the social, technical, and legal challenges of long-term storage and maintenance.