Oct 302011
Digital Preservation, Digital Curation, Digital Whatever: What's the Right Term?

There is a polite but persistent disagreement among librarians, archivists and other normally peaceful souls who care about keeping digital information accessible into the future.  The conflict is low key, as one might expect: no one is occupying reading rooms, much less being led away in plastic handcuffs. But there are few signs that all [...]

Oct 102011
Innovation, Disruption and the Democratization of Digital Preservation

Innovation is one of those words that is as loaded as it is inescapable. It appears constantly on billboards, TV commercials and political speeches. I’ll wager every big organization in the world lays claim to the concept through a mission statement or some other purported self-description. Our hopes for improved institutional outcomes–from schools, from hospitals, [...]

Jun 052011
Our Relationship with Digital Preservation: It's Complicated

Digital preservation used to be the affair of a few geeky keepers who recognized the value of lonely, obscure data.  But as information technology has spread across our culture, we are developing an intense, long-term relationship with digital content. Cyberspace When You’re Dead is a good example.  “Suppose that just after you finish reading this [...]

Mar 282011
Support Based on Nostalgia: Will Self on Public Libraries

I came across a rather amazing interview with Will Self on the BBC Open Book radio program.  The subject was Self’s nominal opposition, along with a host of other well-known English writers, to the closing of public libraries in the UK for budgetary purposes. Self is a well-known writer and television personality recognized, according to [...]

Mar 282011
Hanging on the Telephone: Technological Relic

The telephone call is now officially on its way to joining the telegram on the scrapheap of communications technology, according to The New York Times. Thank God for that. But before I vent on my feeling about phone calls, let me step back and attempt a bigger perspective. Nothing substitutes for direct conversation to accurately [...]

Mar 222011

I assembled an archive of the great #nytmuseums tweet chat held last week; it’s a 49 page PDF document (over 1400 tweets), 522kb.  I can’t guarantee that I got everything, but it looks reasonably complete. The chat covered all kinds of things, but focused largely on how cultural institutions can use social media to meet [...]

Mar 142011
Is The Digital Pileup Too Damn High?

Yesterday’s New York Times had an Op-Ed article about a problem I’ll bet you never thought of: The Digital Pileup. The essence of the article, with apologies to Jimmy McMillan, is that  the amount of digital information is too damn high.  Too much energy to run all those server farms.  Too much human cost “wading [...]

Mar 062011
Scalable Heroics: Personal Digital Archiving Fills Library, Archives and Museums Collecting Void

I attended the Personal Digital Archiving conference in San Francisco last week. Some of the usual suspects in the world of digital preservation where there, most of whom are affiliated with institutions (including myself). But there were also a few rugged individuals who, out of passion or some other impulse, are working alone to collect [...]

Feb 242011
3 Activities That Libraries, Archives and Museums Need to Consider for Personal Digital Archiving

Personal digital archiving–actions that individuals undertake to enhance the persistence and accessibility of their own digital photographs, videos and other content that documents their lives–is something of a hot topic. The Internet Archive is hosting its second Personal Archiving conference today and tomorrow with an impressive lineup of speakers.  The Library of Congress held its [...]