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How do I keep my digital films safe

Joshua Ng

Joshua Ng

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Joshua Ng is the Information Technology (IT) & Technical executive at the Asian Film Archive (AFA) based in Singapore.


Hi Joshua,

I made some short films a couple of years back. Some of them were submitted to competitions and won some awards. I have been keeping them in an external hard disk, thinking that since the files are backed up, it should be safe. But I had quite a scare the other day when my computer couldn't detect the hard disk. Fortunately when I tried it with another USB cable it worked. Is there something I can do to ensure my short films are safe?

Warm regards,

Paul Soon

Filmmaker

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Plans are my reality

Yvonne Tunnat

Yvonne Tunnat

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Yvonne Tunnat is Preservation Manager at the ZBW Leibniz Information Centre for Economics


I was fresh from university when I started my job as a preservation manager in October 2011 at the ZBW. Having taken a module named “Digital Preservation” during my studies of library and information science and after a 9-week-internship at the Digital Preservation Department of the university of Utah, I obviously was the best they could find for the job, although I knew next to nothing and they knew it.

Only, I did not know it. I felt self-confident and well-prepared. I had seen the OAIS slides several times, I knew our ingest was more or less solved and I did not need to think about access as we run a dark archive, so preservation planning was the one big task left on my desk.

There was this software, JHOVE, which miraculously was able to decide if a PDF was ok, flagging the bad ones for later preservation actions. As I knew nothing (like Jon Snow), I took all JHOVE findings as granted.

My preservation plan was as following:

  1. Gather all bad PDF
  2. Migrate them to good PDF
  3. Check if they still look alike

Thanks to JHOVE, the first step was easy. I left the second step to our IT guy, who quickly built a small java program, which transformed all the bad PDF into good ones. At least, after the migration JHOVE could not find anything wrong with them anymore.

But I had to rack my brain about the third step. Somehow I needed to compare the new PDF version with the original to see if there were any changes that would make the data producer angry (like layout changes, missing content etc).

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What does digital preservation mean to you?

Jaye Weatherburn

Jaye Weatherburn

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Jaye Weatherburn is Digital Preservation Officer at the University of Melbourne


In a review conducted in 2016 for the University of Melbourne’s Digital Preservation Project, key research staff at the university were asked the question, What does digital preservation mean to you? The primary aim of this review was to identify and document gaps in service provision for research data management, and to highlight the main barriers impeding the implementation of sustainable digital preservation.

The responses from the review have been anonymised, remixed slightly, and in parts edited for length, but still accurately represent the answers as provided. They are presented here in both transcript form, and as an audiovisual creation using the Mac OS X El Capitan (version 10.11.6) speech-to-text voices: Fiona, Alex, Karen, Samantha, Tessa, and Daniel.

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Twittering on the edge of two conferences: Themes of power and empowerment at ASA-ITIC and iPRES 2017

Rachel Tropea

Rachel Tropea

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Rachel Tropea is a Senior Research Archivist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. 


2017 has been a year for digital preservation firsts – the first ever International Digital Preservation Day on 30 November 2017, the University of Melbourne became the first Australian institution to join the Digital Preservation Coalition, and on a personal level it was my first time attending iPRES.

iPRES is the major international conference on the preservation and long-term management of digital materials. In 2017 it was hosted by Kyoto University, and the theme was Keeping Cultural Diversity for the Future in the Digital Space — From Pop Culture to Scholarly Information.

At the same time, the Australian Society of Archivists Conference & Information Technologies Indigenous Symposium (ASA-ITIC) took place in Melbourne, and its theme was Diverse Worlds.

Although these communities confer separately, their concerns are largely the same as evidenced in part by their shared theme of diversity this year. And, as I hope you’ll see from my discussion of ASA-ITIC, the challenges posed by the keynote speaker Jarrett Drake go to the very core of what we all do.

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What’s in a name?

Amber Cushing

Amber Cushing

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Amber Cushing is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) for the School of Information & Communication Studies, University College Dublin


When it comes to digital curation in Ireland, a lot, actually.  In 2014, I was recruited by University College Dublin (UCD) to start an Msc in Digital Curation.  Digital curation has been concisely defined as “the management and preservation of digital material to ensure accessibility over the long term” (Abbott, 2008).  In essence, preservation is only part of the process, digital curation prescribes that sustaining long term access to digital material should be considered before the object is even created, but selecting optimal file formats, a preservation strategy, etc.  I thought my background, having been a PhD student at the UNC School of Information and Library Science, that launched one of the first degrees in digital curation had prepared me for this.  I knew the major issues in the field, as well as the key literature.  Just to be sure, I, along with UCD School of Information and Communications Head of School Professor Kalpana Shankar, decided to embark on a needs analysis of digital curation in Ireland.

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This is not a part

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Sean Barker runs a Technical consultancy on Enterprise Integration and Information Sharing for Products


Barker 1Dear colleagues,

This photo shows my paperweight for the last 25 years. The suggestion is that it was a test part, used in a prototype for a flight control mechanism. You might think that it is the physical part that endures long after the design has been lost in an archive, but this piece of metal demonstrates the opposite - it is a part without provenance, so not an aircraft part at all.

Yes, we could measure and redraw it, but that would not be its design. The holes are set where they are because of the geometry of the mechanism, but which mechanism was it designed for? The flanges - the metal ridges round the edges that stand up from the base plate - are there to stiffen the plate. They will have been analysed through a finite element stress model, but without knowing the original mechanism, we don't know the forces the stress model tested. And even if we can find the most likely mechanism, it is likely that it went through several versions, and which version, which loads is this designed for?

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Crossroads

Andrea Goethals

Andrea Goethals

Last updated on 30 November 2017

 Andrea Goethals works at the National Library of New Zealand


Recently I unexpectedly found myself with extra time on my hands, as I was preparing to take a new position halfway around the world. Like most of you, I’m assuming, I normally don’t get the time to go back and reread some of my favorite digital preservation papers, discover new favorites I missed previously, or to follow the sourced papers to see where it takes me. Because my interests lie in what it takes to build and grow effective digital preservation programs, I focused on preservation requirements, capability criteria, maturity models, self-assessments, risk assessments, audits and certifications.  Besides all the benefits that come from rereading these guidance documents, papers, and standards; several things struck me in the process that I’d like to share with you.

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Welcome to the Digital Preservation Laundrette!

Matthew Addis

Matthew Addis

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Matthew Addis is Chief Technology Officer for Arkivum


This blog post is both a demonstration of how to extensively torture a metaphor if you try hard enough, which I'm certainly want to do from time to time, and a look at some of the serious issues of digital preservation at an industrial scale outside of memory institutions. 

The metaphor is washing machines, the industrial application is research data preservation, and the answer, perhaps paradoxically, is to choose to do less for more.

Addis 1aI've been involved for over 2 years now with the Jisc Research Data Shared Service (RDSS).  This has the ambitious and laudable goal of providing a national Shared Service for Research Data Management to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK, including the deposit, storage, publication and preservation of a wide range of digital research outputs. 

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Bit Preservation is NOT a Question of Technology!

Eld Zierau

Eld Zierau

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Eld Zierau is Digital Preservation Specialist PhD at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, Denmark


 And yes, it does involve technology, but technology is just a tool, in the same way as a word processing editor is a tool for a writer.

Today, there is a growing awareness of the need for bit preservation, but there are still a lot of talk about backup, hardware longevity, bit preservation as a technology solution etc. I will here focus on the technology contra non-technology parts, and I will therefore take the liberty to assume the following: It is common knowledge, that there needs to be copies of data in bit preservation, and that these copies of data are equally worthy (not backup copies of an original), and that the copies of data (replicas) are regularly checked and fixed for errors.

Zierau 1

Figure text: Bit preservation with coordinated independent replica units in different organisations, expressed in OAIS terms and images from digitalbevaring.dk

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Digital Music Production MK I.

Thomas Bårdsen

Thomas Bårdsen

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Thomas Bårdsen is Audio Production Manager at the National Library of Norway


I guess the first digital thing that entered my house growing up, was music. A shiny disc of digital information, read out via laser technology. So futuristic, at the time I think it even changed my hairstyles in a more “pointy” direction.  Those discs were just an end product of a whole new direction in music production. The whole music production chain aimed digital. The discs were graded and stamped as if they were jewelry. DDD meaning digital technology were used from start to finish. Music productions have in some ways been born digital for over 35 years. It has also left some strange digital collections behind. In the very early eighties, going digital was a risky and costly piece of business.  The previous analog era in music technology, had at least tried to be compatible. The new approach from the industry was that of proprietary systems. Legendary record producer Richard Burgess called the approach of the early digital audio formats a winner takes all play, were larger companies hoped on maximizing profits by squeezing out all competition.

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