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Category: software

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. ... 

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). ... 

RSS and Mainstream News Outlets

Recently posted on the FP Passport blog, The truth about RSS gives an overview of the results of a recent RSS study that looks at the RSS feeds produced by 19 major news outlets. The complete study (and its results) can be found here: International News and Problems with the News Media’s RSS Feeds.

If you are interested in my part in all this, read the Study Methodology section (which describes my role down under the heading ‘How the Research Team Operated’) and the What is RSS? page (which I authored, and describes both the basics of RSS as well as some other web based tools we used in the study – YahooPipes and Google Docs). ... 

Visualizing Archival Collections

As I mentioned earlier, I am taking an Information Visualization class this term. For our final class project I managed to inspire two other classmates to join me in creating a visualization tool based on the structured data found in the XML version of EAD finding aids.

We started with the XML of the EAD finding aids from University of Maryland’s ArchivesUM and the Library of Congress Finding Aids. My teammates have written a parser that extracts various things from the XML such as title, collection size, inclusive dates and subjects. Our goal is to create an innovative way to improve the exploration and understanding of archival collections using an interactive visualization. ...