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Edinburgh Preserves: The Third Batch!

Garth Stewart

Garth Stewart

Last updated on 29 August 2017

One of the really nice things about working in digital preservation is the community’s friendly, open attitude. Practitioners regularly come together in formal and informal contexts – both invaluable – to share ideas, reflect on challenges, and learn from one another. It’s a testament to our collective benevolence that these gettogethers, often attended by colleagues from highly varied backgrounds and organisations, are consistently provide confidence and inspiration in what we do.

Such exchanges can work locally, too, and Edinburgh Preserves is one example of this; a local group that brings together a merry band of practitioners from across the greater Edinburgh area (and beyond!) who work in digital preservation, for informal discussion and networking.

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The Data Vanishes

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 30 August 2017

It’s time to come clean: I no longer know what data is. I am looking pretty hard but I just can’t see it any more. It’s a troubling realisation for someone who has spent twenty years or so trying to preserve the stuff. But the most unsettling part is this: I don’t think it’s me who is lost. Don’t get me wrong, this is not some delayed attack of post-modern angst. I am just trying to get to the end of the day. Is it possible that, just as it was reaching a crescendo of profile, polemic and promise, data has vanished, like Bilbo Baggins on his eleventy-first birthday?

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Art Conservation Meet Software Engineering: Converging Practices in the Preservation of Software-based Art

Tom Ensom

Tom Ensom

Last updated on 30 August 2017

At a conference earlier this year, the topic of preserving artworks involving digital media had been a recurring topic of discussion during and after talks. One artist, who works extensively with software as a medium, was clearly a little baffled by this preoccupation. Having a background in software engineering, they were quick to point out that this domain has been dealing with these kinds of problem for decades! An interesting provocation - but how much truth is there to it? Can software engineering principles really help solve of our digital preservation woes? In this blog post I will consider what we might learn from the discipline and how such a meeting of practices might be navigated.

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Back to the Cave: Communicating the Importance of Web Archiving to Everybody Who Doesn’t Already Care about Web Archiving

Sara Day Thomson

Sara Day Thomson

Last updated on 9 August 2017

 

ARPAnet Ettiquette

 

 

It’s entirely wrong, and it’s the road back to the cave. The way we got out of the caves and into modern civilisation is through the process of understanding and thinking. Those things were not done by gut instinct. -Professor Brian Cox

 

Chapter 1: Fluent in Eyebrow

In keeping with the last few blog posts by William Kilbride and Sarah Higgins, I am going to share my version of the proverbial experience of explaining information profession jobs to outsiders. In my case, a mildly awkward social interaction slightly intensified by my immigration status. For a year or so I waffled on how to describe my work to UK Border Control without arousing suspicion. Was that quizzical eyebrow code for: What kind of criminal can’t even explain her own job in fewer than 20 words?  

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Time to become our own profession?

Sarah Higgins

Sarah Higgins

Last updated on 25 July 2017

William Kilbride asked us earlier this week (Born in a Storm 18 July 2017) what digital preservation professionals say when people ask us what we do. Like him I usually try to go under the radar and say I teach at a University. If pushed I say I teach digital information management – it seems a little more understandable than digital curation. Mostly this is met by a polite silence and a change of subject. Sometimes it leads to a lively discussion – especially if I personalise the message – using their own digital photographs or online bank statements as an example of the types of digital information that needs managing. Sometimes people probe further and ask who wants to study digital information management.

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Born in a Storm

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 18 July 2017

JensTweetIn my last blog I briefly discussed how digital preservation came of age in turbulent times.  There was a lot going on in that post as I tried to make a link between economics and digital preservation, proposing a vital, necessary intervention that the digital preservation community should be making in some thorny but important matters of public policy. But it wasn’t an easy read.  Jenny Mitcham washed down an entire bowl of soup as I mangled three decades of economic history.  With all that going on I didn’t dare add a further digression about our values and how these have been affected by the way the digital preservation community has developed.  But I promised to return to the theme while the topic was still in my mind.  

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Cloudy Culture: Preserving digital culture in the cloud

Lee Hibberd

Lee Hibberd

Last updated on 11 July 2017

 

cloudy culture

Part 3: File fixity and downloading

The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, National Galleries of Scotland and the Digital Preservation Coalition are working together on a project called Cloudy Culture to explore the potential of cloud services to help preserve digital culture. This is one of a number of pilots under the larger EUDAT project, funded through Horizon2020.

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Getting digital preservation started

Lizz Jennings

Lizz Jennings

Last updated on 10 July 2017

This is a joint blog post by Lizz Jennings (Research Data Librarian (Systems)) and Lizzie Richmond (University Archivist and Records Manager)

The University of Bath has engaged in digital preservation activities since launching our Research Data Archive in 2015.  We outsourced bit-level preservation to Arkivum, and focused development efforts on discovery and interoperability.  Our 50th Anniversary prompted a flurry of interest in our archival materials over the past two years.  Part of this involved a project to digitise videos held in our archives to ensure their accessibility into the future.  Once digitised, the question of how to preserve the content brought us together to discuss options for preservation.

As we discussed the options, we began to realise that tackling digital preservation project by project was likely to lead to an ad-hoc, fragmented approach that was unsustainable and hard to navigate.  We had adequate solutions for the short term for both our particular needs, and decided to focus our efforts on understanding the Library’s digital collections as a starting point for a digital preservation plan.

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What I learned about research data management

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 5 July 2017

Even having been part of the DPC for 4 years now, I still consider myself a relative newbie to the digital preservation world, and I’ll certainly never consider myself a digital preservation ‘native.’ That is to say my background is not archiving/information management/digital preservation/IT or any of the ‘usual’ routes into this weird and wonderful community.

So, I’ll openly admit I’m even more of a novice when it comes to the Research Data Management (RDM) game. I thought I knew what research data is/was (stay tuned for an imminent blog post from William Kilbride on ‘what is data anyway?’), I thought I understood why we look after it, and I thought I was beginning to understand its huge potential.

But, attending the Jisc Research Data Network (RDN) event in York last week made me realise I had a whole lot more to learn.

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DPTP Migration of file formats; understanding loss and how to manage it

Chris Loftus

Chris Loftus

Last updated on 3 July 2017

A DPC bursary enabled me to attend the above event hosted at ULCC last month. As someone from an archives background relatively new to digital preservation, Ed Pinsent’s introduction to this one day course at Senate House - which put forward the suggestion that discussion of file migration has previously been dominated by computer science and technical analysis of file format - was reassuring music to my (until recently) untechnical ears. In the context of the reading and research I had undertaken thus far, the idea of shifting the focus back to people, collections, and content was a welcome one.

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