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Category: preservation

Phoenix DVD destined for Mars

Hubble's Sharpest View Of Mars

When the Phoenix Mars Mission launches (possible as early as this Friday August 3rd, 2007), it will have something unusual on board. The Planetary Society has created what they call the Phoenix DVD.

In late May of 2007 they proudly announced that their special DVD was ready for launch:

… the silica glass mini-DVD with a quarter million names on it (including all Planetary Society members) has been installed on the Phoenix spacecraft and is ready to go to Mars! ... 

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. ... 

International Environmental Data Rescue Organization: Rescuing At Risk Weather Records Around the World

iedro.jpgIn the middle of my crazy spring semester a few months back, I got a message about volunteer opportunities at the International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO). I get emails from from VolunteerMatch.org every so often because I am always curious about virtual volunteer projects (ie, ways you can volunteer via your computer while in your pajamas). I filed the message away for when I actually had more time to take a closer look and it has finally made it to the top of my list. ... 

Book Review: Dreaming in Code (a book about why software is hard)

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software
(or “A book about why software is hard”) by Scott Rosenberg

Before I dive into my review of this book – I have to come clean. I must admit that I have lived and breathed the world of software development for years. I have, in fact, dreamt in code. That is NOT to say that I was programming in my dream, rather that the logic of the dream itself was rooted in the logic of the programming language I was learning at the time (they didn’t call it Oracle Bootcamp for nothing). ... 

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 ... 

Google, Privacy, Records Managment and Archives

BoingBoing.net posted on March 14 and March 15 about Google’s announcement of a plan to change their log retention policy . Their new plan is to strip parts of IP data from records in order to protect privacy. Read more in the AP article covering the announcement.

For those who are not familiar with them – IP addresses are made up of sets of numbers and look something like 192.39.288.3. To see how good a job they can do figuring out the location you are in right now – go to IP Address or IP Address Guide (click on ‘Find City’). ... 

The Archives and Archivists Listserv: hoping for a stay of execution

There has been a lot of discussion (both on the Archives & Archivists (A&A) Listserv and in blog posts) about the SAA‘s recent decision to not preserve the A&A listserv posts from 1996 through 2006 when they are removed from the listserv’s old hosting location at Miami University of Ohio.

Most of the outcry against this decision has fallen into two camps:

  • Those who don’t understand how the SAA task force assigned to appraise the listserv archives could decide it does not have informational value – lots of discussion about how the listserv reflects the move of archivists into the digital age as well as it’s usefulness for students
  • Those who just wish it wouldn’t go away because they still use it to find old posts. Some mentioned that there are scholarly papers that reference posts in the listserv archives as their primary sources.

I added this suggestion on the listserv: ... 

NARA’s Electronic Records Archives in West Virginia

“WVU, NATIONAL ARCHIVES PARTNER” from http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/news/page/5419/

In a press release dated February 28, 2007, the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States (NARA) and West Virginia University (WVU) declared they had signed “a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a 10-year research and educational partnership in the study of electronic records and the promotion of civic awareness of the use of electronic records as educational resources.” It goes on to say that the two organizations “will engage in collaborative research and associated educational activities” including “research in the preservation and long-term access to complex electronic records and engineering design documentation.” WVU will receive “test collections” of electronic records from NARA to support their research and educational activities. ... 

Understanding Born Digital Records: Journalists and Archivists with Parallel Challenges

My most recent Archival Access class had a great guest speaker from the Journalism department. Professor Ira Chinoy is currently teaching a course on Computer-Assisted Reporting. In the first half of the session, he spoke about ways that archival records can fuel and support reporting. He encouraged the class to brainstorm about what might make archival records newsworthy. How do old records that have been stashed away for so long become news? It took a bit of time, but we got into the swing of it and came up with a decent list. He then went through his own list and gave examples of published news stories that fit each of the scenarios. ... 

Should we be archiving fonts?

I am a fan of beautiful fonts. This is why I find myself on the mailing list if MyFonts.com. I recently received their Winter 2007 newsleter featuring the short article titled ‘A cast-iron investment’. It starts out with:

Of all the wonderful things about fonts, there’s one that is rarely mentioned by us font sellers. It’s this: fonts last for a very long time. Unlike almost all the other software you may have bought 10 or 15 years ago, any fonts you bought are likely still working well, waiting to be called back into action when you load up that old newsletter or greetings card you made! ...