We Did All That? NDSA Standards and Practices Working Group Project Recaps

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Video Stumbling Blocks Survey bookmark, designed by Kara Van Malssen, AVPreserve

The end of the school year often finds me thinking about time gone by. What did I work on and what can I show for it? The NDSA Standards and Practices Working Group members were in the same frame of mind so we recently did a survey of our projects and accomplishments since the NDSA launched in 2010. It’s an impressive list (if we do say so ourselves), especially once you realize that these topics come from the interests of our diverse membership. As co-chair of the working group, I’d like to share with you all of the the S&P-related blog posts to bring readers up-to-date with many of our topical and timely initiatives.

Video Survey
Video has been a hot topic in S&P recently. Several round-robin discussions led to a “Video Deep Dive” action team which developed and conducted the Stumbling Blocks to Preserving Video Survey to identify and rank issues that may hinder digital video preservation. The preliminary results led us to dig a little deeper in how we processed and analyzed the data so look for an update on this soon.

Preserving Digital and Software-Based Artworks
S&P hosted a two-part discussion with experts from four collecting institutions (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, and Smithsonian Institution Time Based Media Art project) to share their experiences in both preserving and providing access to digital art works and other new media. These complex digital objects materials are increasingly part of collections outside of traditional museum environments and cultural heritage institutions, including libraries and archives, will see more and more of this type of content in their collections.

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Photo courtesy of Time Based Media Art at the Smithsonian from the Report on the Status and Need for Technical Standards in the care of Time-Based Media and Digital Art

PDFA/3
S&P members contributed to a report that takes a measured look at the costs and benefits of the widespread use of the PDF/A-3 format, especially as it effects content arriving in collecting institutions. The report provides background on the technical development of the specification, identifies specific scenarios under which the format might be used and suggests policy prescriptions for collecting institutions to consider.

Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation Survey
S&P conducted a survey of 85 institutions with a mandate to preserve digital content about how they staffed and organized their preservation functions. In addition to an award-winning poster (PDF) at iPRES2012, S&P members produced a detailed report and deposited the raw data in ICPSR.

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Icons for Archive and Checksum, Designed by Iconathon Los Angeles, California, US 2013. Public Domain

Fixity
Along with our colleagues in the NDSA Infrastructure Working Group, S&P members helped author the NDSA publication, “Checking Your Digital Content: What is Fixity and When Should I Be Checking It?” (PDF). This resource provides stewards of digital objects with information about implementing fixity concepts and methods in a way that makes sense for their organization based on their needs and resources. Topics covered include definitions of fixity and fixity information, general approaches to fixity check frequency and comparison of common fixity information-generating instruments.

2015 National Agenda
S&P members also contributed significant input and informed actionable recommendations to the Organization Policies and Practice chapter of the NDSA 2015 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship.

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Issues with archiving email proved to be another rallying point for S&P members who participated in initiating an informal Email Interest Group to discuss issues, projects and workflows to preserve email.

Moving Forward
Compiling this review list for S&P proudly reminds me of how much we’ve done through our active and engaged membership. And I should mention that this post doesn’t even cover all our projects – just the ones with blog posts! Even with all we’ve done so far, S&P still has many issues and practices to explore.

Digital Preservation Infrastructure Tours: The Bentley Historical Library

To better understand how organizations working to ensure long-term access to digital content are meeting the challenges of digital stewardship, the NDSA Infrastructure Working Group is running a new series of interviews. In each of these, we ask individuals to answer questions about their organization and the technologies and tools they use to serve as […]

The K-12 Web Archiving Program: Preserving the Web from a Youthful Point of View

This article is being co-published on the Teaching With the Library of Congress blog and was written by Butch Lazorchak and Cheryl Lederle. If you believe the Web (and who doesn’t believe everything they read on the Web?), it boastfully celebrated its 25th birthday last year. Twenty-five years is long enough for the first “children […]

Libraries Looking Across Languages: Seeing the World Through Mass Translation

The following is a guest post by Kalev Hannes Leetaru, Senior Fellow, George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. Portions adapted from a post for the Knight Foundation. Imagine a world where language was no longer a barrier to information access, where anyone can access real-time information from anywhere in the world in […]

Tracking Digital Collections at the Library of Congress, from Donor to Repository

When Kathleen O’Neill talks about digital collections, she slips effortlessly into the info-tech language that software engineers, librarians, archivists and other information technology professionals use to communicate with each other.  O’Neill, a senior archives specialist in the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division, speaks with authority about topics such as file signatures, hex editors and checksums even […]

Mapping Words: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Exploring the Geography of Text

The following is a guest post by Kalev Hannes Leetaru, Senior Fellow, George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. It is hard to imagine our world today without maps. Though not the first online mapping platform, the debut of Google Maps a decade ago profoundly reshaped the role of maps in everyday life, […]

Unlocking the Imagery of 500 Years of Books

The following is a guest post by Kalev H. Leetaru of Georgetown University (Former), Robert Miller of Internet Archive and David A. Shamma from Yahoo Labs/Flickr. In 1994, linguist Geoff Nunberg stated, in an article in the journal “Representations,” “reading what people have had to say about the future of knowledge in an electronic world, […]

All the News That’s Fit to Archive

The following is a guest post from Michael Neubert, a Supervisory Digital Projects Specialist at the Library of Congress. The Library has had a web archiving program since the early 2000s.  As with other national libraries, the Library of Congress web archiving program started out harvesting the web sites of its national election campaigns, followed […]

Audio for Eternity: Schüller and Häfner Look Back at 25 Years of Change

The following is a guest post by Carl Fleischhauer, a Digital Initiatives Project Manager in the Office of Strategic Initiatives. During the first week of October, Kate Murray and I participated in the annual conference of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives in Cape Town, South Africa.  Kate’s blog describes the conference.  This blog […]