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Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives
 

Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives

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A presentation about the challenges of long term digital preservation of CAD, Digital Audio Tapes, digital videotapes, websites, social media, email, text documents, and images at the Smithsonian ...

A presentation about the challenges of long term digital preservation of CAD, Digital Audio Tapes, digital videotapes, websites, social media, email, text documents, and images at the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Given by Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, Electronic Archivist, at the Smithsonian Institution Digitization Fair held in Washington, DC in 2010.

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    Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives Presentation Transcript

    • Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives
      Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig
      Electronic Records Archivist
    • Long-term digital preservation
      More than 350 accessions contain electronic records in a variety of types including video, sound, images, databases, applications, websites, and text. These range from exhibit planning documents to unit handbooks to conference images.
      One collection can contain thousands of files
      Files arrive via removable media or file transfer
      Goal is to ensure authenticity, integrity, and accessibility
      Use best practices and accepted archival standards
      Use formats that are open, lossless, and widely accepted. Proprietary formats, i.e., Microsoft Word and WordPerfect are problematic
      Document all processing steps including virus scans and checksums
      Perform full-level preservation as much as possible. Bit preservation at minimum for files we cannot convert or emulate.
      Original files always maintained
      Images and video are the top types in terms of size
      Files kept on backed-up SIA servers, LTO tapes
    • CAD – Computer assisted design
      A 2-D CAD drawing of an aerial view of the plan for the National Museum of the American Indian, 2003. View in AutoCAD proprietary software. SIA Accession 06-012
    • Same 2-D CAD drawing preserved as a PDF file. SIA Accession 06-012
    • Digital audio tapes
      Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
      Lena Horne
      Jazz Smithsonian Radio Broadcast with Lena Horne, “A Spanish Tinge,” 1997
      All clips from SIA Accession 04-062
      Introduction by David Baker, SMJO
      “Manteca” performed by SMJO
      Using DAT machine on loan from Smithsonian Folkways to conduct digital-to-digital transfers
      Audio files being preserved as WAV/Broadcast WAV
    • Digital Video
      “The Colbert Report – National Treasure: Portrait of Stephen” video
      SIA Accession 10-111
      NASM Udvar-Hazy Center preview video
      SIA Accession 04-055
      • Digital A/V files are huge and complex
      • Preservation tools and formats/codecs not as straightforward as other types.
      • We also have been digitizing our video histories
    • SI Websites and social media
      Archiving SI websites since the late 1990s through a variety of methods
      Now using open-source archival crawler Heritrix and other tools for social media captures
    • Email collections
      Conducted three-year grant-funded project to study techniques for long-term preservation of email collections
      Resulted in tools and procedures now in use
      at SI Archives
    • Images
      Roxie C. Laybourne, a pioneering forensic scientist at the Smithsonian Institution,
      examines aircraft parts.
      SIA Accession
      04-086
      Exhibition photograph from the National Portrait Gallery’s “Champions of American Sport.”
      SIA Accession 09-066
      Original formats include GIF, JPG, EPS, TIF, PCD, etc.
      Accepted preservation format currently is TIF.
      Smithsonian American Art Museum staff paints the “Wall of Expression” in commemoration of Sept. 11, 2001.
      SIA Accession 03-127
    • Text documents
      MS Word document
      from SIA Accession 02-094
      WordPerfect document
      from SIA Accession 95-052
      Rich Text
      Format (RTF) document
      from SIA Accession 06-058
      Numerous word-processing files and spreadsheets
      Preservation format is PDF/A or PDF