Saturday, June 23, 2012

Digital Issues in a Small Shop

Digital Conversion Interest Group - June 23 @ 1:30
Once again I'll issue the caveats about these notes. They are not very complete or well edited and I hope they do not contain any errors or misrepresentations.

Adventures in Digital Curation, or, advice for the novice solo curator - Meg Meiman, University of Deleware
Director of undergraduate research program - digital curation in students' work
What is digital curation - maintaining preservation of digital content into perpetuity
She likes Butch Lazorchak's definition of digital curation from The Signal Aug. 23, 2011
Questions for consideration
How do we prioritize what to keep for the historical record?
In what formats should this be maintained?
How can be build digital curation into our current preservation practices and daily workflow?
Who else can help with all of this?

Triage - Data (senior theses), Metadata (info about researchers), Still more date (students' proposals)

Convert PDFs to PDF/A which presents some limitations/structures to what can be contained within.
Info about students in MS Access - export to XML for immediate backup and MySQL

Curaton from Alistair Miles' "Zoological case Studies in Digital Curation."
Front-end curation - guidelines for content creators. submit in pdf - all URLs are typed out.
Back-end curation - develop practices to incorporate curation into existing workflow and timeline

What other avenues available to assist with digital curation?
- instutional repositories
- college and university archives
- creators of digital content

"The more digital object is handled the longer it will endure." said someone she quoted

Helen K. Bailey - Dartmouth
Starting Small, Practical first steps in Digital Preservation
A case study
Only person with digital preservation explicitly in their job
School knew it was important, but didn't now what to do.
ICPSR digital preservation management workshop - very worthwhile. Now at MIT.
Uses Bag-it - run it on a folder, creates manifest, checksum, checksum validation
Backed up all material to two hard drives - distributed to different locations
Manage - runs checks on material every 6 months
Current system pros: inexpensive, minimal staff time, low barrier to entry
Cons: not scalable, "Dark archive" no clear access plan; lack of security
In the future, like to implement a full preservation repository
Their digital preservation policy is online
Her presentation is on slideshare.

I asked Meg about her ability to instruct/require students to follow guidelines in file formats - but mostly it was an opportunit for me to complain about my work having no such ability to exercise such authority over Michigan government agencies and the way they create files, which we are obliged to try and capture and preserve.
Both presentations were about the idea that the small shops can't do it all, but the little we can do can make a big difference.

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