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Put Away ... And Not Forgotten


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Presentation delivered by Ricc Ferrante, Smithsonian Institution Archives' Information Technology Archivist & Electronic Records Program Director, at the Smithsonian Archives Fair on October 22, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The basic principles of digital archives and preservation applicable to both personal collections and organizational ones.

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Put Away ... And Not Forgotten

  1. 1. Put Away…And Not Forgotten<br />Riccardo Ferrante <br />Smithsonian Institution Archives<br />Smithsonian Institution Archives FairOctober, 2010<br />
  2. 2.
  3. 3. SI Archives is ….<br />The institutional memory of a unique American cultural resource and a steward of the national collections. SIA was established to ensure institutional accountability and enhance public appreciation of a great national treasure and the activities of the people associated with it. <br />[Neg.# 7004/b44f10/85-11427_0] [Neg.# SIA2009-0709]<br />Paleontologist Secretary Charles D. Walcott Ornithologist Roxie Collie S. Laybourne<br />Serves scholars, the Smithsonian community, and the general public, offering a range of reference, research, and records services.<br />
  4. 4. Our experience with born-digital and digitized material<br /><ul><li> 1982 – Received digital records
  5. 5. 2001 – Preservation of digital records began
  6. 6. 2003 – websites, preservation tools and techniques
  7. 7. 2008 – email, preservation tools and techniques
  8. 8. Worked to establish standards and best practices
  9. 9. Digital archives includes over 30 Terabytes
  10. 10. Documents
  11. 11. Photographs and images
  12. 12. Video and Audio
  13. 13. Databases
  14. 14. Websites
  15. 15. Email
  16. 16. Computer-aided designs
  17. 17. ...</li></li></ul><li>“Horror” Stories<br />Adhesive label removed recording <br /> layer from 10 year old CD<br />Equipment + Software<br />
  18. 18. Obsolescence<br />A digital object becomes obsolete when it can no longer be maintained and rendered in an authentic and reliable manner, with integrity and completeness. <br />Risk factors<br />Physical storage media<br />Individual file formats<br />Applications, operating systems, hardware technology<br />Necessary skill sets for continued access <br />Financial sustainability<br />Too many varieties, precluding the ability to procure and sustain preservation environments<br />Digital Fragility<br />
  19. 19. Organize<br />Reduce or eliminate risk factors<br />Preserve<br />Use<br />Effective Preservation Strategies <br />
  20. 20. Effective Preservation Strategies <br />Organize<br />What you have, where it’s stored, and how to get to it<br /><ul><li>Draw boundaries around your collections
  21. 21. Give the items meaningful names usinga consistent naming convention</li></li></ul><li>Effective Preservation Strategies <br />Organize <br /><ul><li>Reduce or eliminate risk factors
  22. 22. Virus scans and format verification
  23. 23. Backups
  24. 24. Long-lived file format types
  25. 25. Reliable storage media
  26. 26. Documentation
  27. 27. Monitor</li></ul>Inventory<br /><ul><li>Inspection
  28. 28. Intervention</li></li></ul><li>Effective Preservation Strategies <br />Organize <br /><ul><li>Reduce or eliminate risk factors</li></ul>Preserve<br />Select long-lived file formats<br />Standards-based, non-proprietary<br />Accessible by multiple software programs, operating systems<br />Suitable for the object type<br />Examples <br />Photos: TIFF - 6,000 pixels across, 24-bit RGB, uncompressed<br />Documents: PDF <br />Video: Motion JPEG and MPEG-2 4:2:2<br />
  29. 29. Organize<br />Reduce or eliminate risk factors<br />Preserve<br />Reliable storage media<br />Paper?<br />Optical disks<br />Internal or external hard drives<br />Flash drives<br />Or a combination?<br />Documentation<br />Keep records of what you have done with which objects<br />Essential for remembering what it is and choosing the next preservation step<br />Effective Preservation Strategies <br />
  30. 30. Organize<br />Reduce or eliminate risk factors<br />Preserve<br />Use<br />Copies – not masters<br />Other file formats acceptable<br />Effective Preservation Strategies <br />
  31. 31. Personal Collections<br />Organize<br />Reduce or eliminate risk factors<br />Preserve<br />Use<br />Organizational Archives<br />Effective Preservation Strategies <br />
  32. 32. SIA’s Recent Activities<br /><ul><li> ~ 20% of annual accessions include digital records
  33. 33. Some accessions contain only digital records
  34. 34. Digitization
  35. 35. Recent donation of Hussey photographs to NMAH</li></li></ul><li>Online Catalog and Finding Aids to our Collections<br /><br />The Web<br />Main website -<br />Photography Initiative –<br />Images Gallery –<br />And social media including Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook<br />Blog – The BIGGER PICTURE –<br />Flickr –<br />YouTube –<br />Facebook–<br />Reference– Photographic Services –<br />Smithsonian Institution Archives <br />Ricc Ferrante - Director, Digital Services and IT Archivist<br />202-633-5906 -<br />Contact Us<br />