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Category: born digital records

Born Digital Records are those records which are created in a digital format. These records may never have a physical or analog expression.

Digital Preservation via Emulation – Dioscuri and the Prevention of Digital Black Holes

dioscuri.JPGAvailable Online posted about the open source emulator project Dioscuri back in late September. In the course of researching Thoughts on Digital Preservation, Validation and Community I learned a bit about the Microsoft Virtual PC software. Virtual PC permits users to run multiple operating systems on the same physical computer and can therefore facilitate access to old software that won’t run on your current operating system. That emulator approach pales in comparison with what the folks over at Dioscuri are planning and building. ... 

Preserving Virtual Worlds – TinyMUD to SecondLife

A recent press release from the Library of Congress, Digital Preservation Program Makes Awards to Preserve American Creative Works, describes the newly funded project aimed at the preservation of ‘virtual worlds’:

The Preserving Virtual Worlds project will explore methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction. Major activities will include developing basic standards for metadata and content representation and conducting a series of archiving case studies for early video games, electronic literature and Second Life, an interactive multiplayer game. Second Life content participants include Life to the Second Power, Democracy Island and the International Spaceflight Museum. Partners: University of Maryland, Stanford University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Linden Lab. ... 

Thoughts on Digital Preservation, Validation and Community

The preservation of digital records is on the mind of the average person more with each passing day. Consider the video below from the recent BBC article Warning of data ticking time bomb.


Microsoft UK Managing Director Gordon Frazer running Windows 3.1 on a Vista PC
(Watch video in the BBC News Player)

The video discusses Microsoft’s Virtual PC program that permits you to run multiple operating systems via a Virtual Console. This is an example of the emulation approach to ensuring access to old digital objects – and it seems to be done in a way that the average user can get their head around. Since a big part of digital preservation is ensuring you can do something beyond reading the 1s and 0s – it is promising step. It also pleased me that they specifically mention the UK National Archives and how important it is to them that they can view documents as they originally appeared – not ‘converted’ in any way. ... 

Digital Archiving Articles – netConnect Spring 2007

Thanks to Jessamyn West’s blog post, I found my way to a series of articles in the Spring 2007 edition of netConnect:

“Saving Digital History” is the longest of the three and is a nice survey of many of the issues found at the interseciton of archiving, born digital records and the wild world of the web. I especially love the extensive Link List at the end of the articles — there are lots of interesting related resources. This is the sort of list of links I wish were available with ALL articles online! ... 

Copyright Law: Archives, Digital Materials and Section 108

I just found my way today to Copysense (obviously I don’t have enough feeds to read as it is!). Their current clippings post highlighted part of the following quote as their Quote of the Week.

Marybeth Peters (from http://www.copyright.gov/about.html)“[L]egislative changes to the copyright law are needed. First, we need to amend the law to give the Library of Congress additional flexibility to acquire the digital version of a work that best meets the Library’s future needs, even if that edition has not been made available to the public. Second, section 108 of the law, which provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives, does not adequately address many of the issues unique to digital media—not from the perspective of copyright owners; not from the perspective of libraries and archives.” Marybeth Peters , Register of Copyrights, March 20, 2007 ... 

Considering Historians, Archivists and Born Digital Records

I think I renamed this post at least 12 times. My original intention was was to consider the impact of born digital records on the skills needed for the historian/researchers of the future. In addition I found myself exploring the dividing lines among a number of possible roles in ensuring access to the information written in the 1s and 0s of our born digital records.

After my last post about the impact of anonymization of Google Logs, a friend directed me to the work of Dr. Latanya Sweeney. Reading through the information about her research I found Trail Re-identification: Learning Who You are From Where You Have Been. Given enough data to work with, algorithms can be written that often can re-identify the individuals who performed the original searches. Carnegie Mellon University‘s Data Privacy Lab includes the Trails Learning Project with the goal of answering the question “How can people be identified to the trail of seemingly innocent and anonymous data they leave behind at different locations?”. So it seems that there may be a lot of born digital records that start out anonymous but that may permit ‘re-identification’ – given the application of the right tools or techniques. That is fine – historians have often needed to become detectives. They have spent years developing techniques for the analysis of paper documents to support ‘re-identification’. Who wrote this letter? Is this document real or a forgery? Who is the ‘Mildred’ referenced in this record? ...