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MARAC Spring 2012: Preservation of Digital Materials (Session S1)

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The official title for this session is “Preservation and Conservation of Captured and Born Digital Materials” and it was divided into three presentations with introduction and question moderation by Jordon Steele, University Archivist at Johns Hopkins University.

Digital Curation, Understanding the lifecycle of born digital items

Isaiah Beard, Digital Data Curator from Rutgers, started out with the question ‘What Is Digital Curation?’. He showed a great Dilbert cartoon on digital media curation and the set of six photos showing all different perspectives on what digital curation really is (a la the ‘what I really do’ meme – here is one for librarians). ... 

Digitization Quality vs Quantity: An Exercise in Fortune Telling

The quality vs quantity dilemma is high in the minds of those planning major digitization projects. Do you spend your time and energy creating the highest quality images of your archival records? Or do you focus on digitizing the largest quantity you can manage? Choosing one over the other has felt a bit like an exercise in fortune telling to me over the past few months, so I thought I would work through at least a few of the moving parts of this issue here. ... 

Digitization Program Site Visit: Archives of American Art

The image of Alexander Calder above shows him in his studio, circa 1950. It is from a folder titled Photographs: Calder at Work, 1927-1956, undated, part of Alexander Calder’s Papers held by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and available online through the efforts of their digitization project. I love that this image capture him in his creative space – you get to see the happy chaos from which Calder drew his often sleek and sparse sculptures. ... 

Digitization Program Site Visit: University of Maryland

I recently had the opportunity to visit with staff of the University of Maryland, College Park’s Digital Collections digitization program along with a group of my colleagues from the World Bank. This is a report on that site visit. It is my hope that these details can help others planning digitization projects – much as it is informing our own internal planning.

Date of Visit: October 13, 2011 ... 

Day of Digital Archives

To be honest, today was a half day of digital archives, due to personal plans taking me away from computers this afternoon. In light of that, my post is more accurately my ‘week of digital archives’.

The highlight of my digital archives week was the discovery of the Digital Curation Exchange. I promptly joined and began to explore their ‘space for all things ‘digital curation’ ‘. This led me to a fabulous list of resources, including a set of syllabi for courses related to digital curation. Each link brought me to an extensive reading list, some with full slide decks related to weekly in classroom presentations. My ‘to read’ list has gotten much longer – but in a good way! ... 

SXSW Panel Proposal – Archival Records Online: Context is King

I have a panel up for evaluation on the SXSW Interactive Panel Picker titled Archival Records Online: Context is King. The evaluation process for SXSW panels is based on a combination of staff choice, advisory board recommendations and public votes. As you can see from the pie chart shown here (thank you SXSW website for the great graphic), 30% of the selection criteria is based on public votes. That is where you come in. Voting is open through 11:59 pm Central Daylight Time on Friday, September 2. To vote in favor of my panel, all you need to do is create a free account over on SXSW Panel Picker and then find Archival Records Online: Context is King and give it a big thumbs up. ... 

Rescuing 5.25″ Floppy Disks from Oblivion

This post is a careful log of how I rescued data trapped on 5 1/4" floppy disks, some dating back to 1984 (including those pictured here). While I have tried to make this detailed enough to help anyone who needs to try this, you will likely have more success if you are comfortable installing and configuring hardware and software.

I will break this down into a number of phases:

  • Phase 1: Hardware
  • Phase 2: Pull the data off the disk
  • Phase 3: Extract the files from the disk image
  • Phase 4: Migrate or Emulate

Career Update


I have some lovely news to share! In early July, I will join the Library and Archives of Development at the World Bank as an Electronic Records Archivist. This is a very exciting step for me. Since the completion of my MLS back in 2009, I have mostly focused on work related to metadata, taxonomies, search engine optimization (SEO) and web content management systems. With this new position, I will finally have the opportunity to put my focus on archival issues full time while still keeping my hands in technology and software. ... 

SXSW Interactive: Data and Revelations

I am typing on a laptop in the Samsung blogger lounge at SXSW. Given this easy opportunity to blog, I wanted to share the overarching theme for my experience so far (3 days in) to SXSW Interactive. Data. It is all about data. APIs exposing data. People visualizing data. Using data to make business and policy decisions. Graphing data to keep track of web site and application performance. Privacy of data. Crowdsourcing data. Data about social media behavior. And on and on! ...