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PICNIC'11: Project re dds: digital archeology (September 14, 2011)


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re:DDS is an attempt to reconstruct the DDS. De Digitale Stad (DDS), the Digital City, was one of the first online community network that operated on an European scale. DDS was founded in the fall of 1993 by 10-15 people (fluid group) and was launched at 15 januari 1994 in Amsterdam. The DDS was inspired by the Community Networks movement in the US and Canada and functioned as a Free-Net in the Netherlands. DDS has attracted international interest for the design it had chosen: it used the metaphor of a city to structure the information and communication in cyberspace and made the users into ‘inhabitants’. Initiatially DDS started as a 10 week pilot. The Digital City has been a public domain virtual city in Amsterdam between 1994 and 2001. Check:

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PICNIC'11: Project re dds: digital archeology (September 14, 2011)

  1. 1. PICNIC’11 Project: re:DDS, WebArcheology Living Networks, Urban Labs, September, 14th 2011
  2. 2. Project re:DDS, WebArcheology
  3. 3. Help! Our digital heritage is getting lost!
  4. 4. … In the wild, wild cyberspace… a virtual city rose… …out of networkcables, computers and modems… <ul><li>De Digitale Stad (The Digital City): 1994-2001 (virtual city) </li></ul><ul><li>1 st (free) public domain virtual city in the world </li></ul><ul><li>1 st Dutch virtual community </li></ul><ul><li>Grounded by a fluid group: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>net-activists (hackers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>independent media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>artists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and… the municipality of Amsterdam </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inspired by the Free-Nets movement in the US and Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Attracted international interest for the design: metaphor of a city to structure cyberspace </li></ul><ul><li>Good for the cyberreputation of the city of Amsterdam: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CNN (1997): “For hundreds of years the city of Amsterdam has been a center of commercial trade, art and education. Now it’s helping point the way in the information revolution too.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manuel Castells (The Internet Galaxy, 2001 ): “ The most famous citizen computer network. (…) A new form of public sphere combining local institutions, grassroots organisations, and computer networks in the development of cultural expression and civic participation.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inhabitants (the users): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1994: 10.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1997: 60.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1998: 80.000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2000: 140.000 </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>First, we go back to the Dark Ages of Internet… </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>NL </li></ul><ul><li>1970 - CWI (uk: Centre for Mathematics and IT) builds supercomputer SARA, Sciencepark in Amsterdam </li></ul><ul><li>1986 - .nl = first ccTLD (country code Top Level Domains) in the world </li></ul><ul><li>1986 - Registration first .nl-domain name: CWI: </li></ul><ul><li>1988 - The Netherlands connected to the internet </li></ul><ul><li>1988 - SURFnet, Co-operative University Computing Facilities </li></ul><ul><li>1989 - NLnet, B2B </li></ul><ul><li>1989/94 - Hack-Tic, 1993  XS4ALL (internet access for all) </li></ul><ul><li>1994 – DDS (internet content for all) </li></ul><ul><li>1997 - Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) </li></ul><ul><li>Amsterdam net-culture </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>What do we want? Goals of the project re:DDS ( RE construction of DDS ) : </li></ul><ul><li>To preserve the internet-historical monument DDS </li></ul><ul><li>To map the history of the DDS, internet and e-culture in Amsterdam </li></ul><ul><li>To include the DDS in the collections of the heritage institutions of Amsterdam </li></ul><ul><li>And… a pilot for net-archeology : how to reconstruct, preserve and retrieve the virtual city DDS (DDS is born-digital) and make it accessible to the public, on a scientific and social level </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>But, Pitfalls of Fragile Media: </li></ul><ul><li>Linkrot </li></ul><ul><li>Lost documents </li></ul><ul><li>Missing software (operating systems) </li></ul><ul><li>Missing hardware (SCSI cables, cards etc) </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>In other words, characteristic problems of the media: </li></ul><ul><li>Technology - These media are based on magnetic (hard disks, magnetic tapes, floppy disks) or optical technologies (CDs, DVDs). </li></ul><ul><li>Longevity - These media are extremely short lived: The stated longevity is a few decades at best. </li></ul><ul><li>Durability - These media are volatile: The method of recording is either magnetism on a magnetic surface, or optical laser on a plastic back. </li></ul><ul><li>Compatibility - These media become obsolete quickly. Even if they do not physically fail, the technology to read them will be obsolete in a decade or two. Different formats, programs, storage… </li></ul>Wired: “Forget storage, if you want files to last, try movage.” Kevin Kelly: “In, Out, In, Out. Copy, move, copy, move.”
  10. 10. <ul><li>So, what we do: WebArcheology  </li></ul><ul><li>(Besides the traditional research techniques: literature, archives and interviews) </li></ul><ul><li>D igg for content in the Internet Archives and </li></ul><ul><li>Webharvest </li></ul><ul><li>Collect, reboot and restore old servers </li></ul><ul><li>Unpack and activate freezes </li></ul><ul><li>Scan analog data  Optical Character Recognition (OCR) </li></ul><ul><li>Describe all excavations & add metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Reconstruct the actual virtual city (emulate!) </li></ul><ul><li>Webarchive </li></ul><ul><li>Open History Lab (crowdsouring) </li></ul><ul><li>Grave Diggers Party! </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Open History Lab  </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Grave Diggers Party, Friday the 13th… </li></ul><ul><li>1. Working space  the Archeological site re:DDS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Servers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools (e-pades, e-pick-axe and e-trowels: SCSI, cables/convertors, hotplugs, genderbenders, switches, scripts, ducktape and s crewdrivers ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workstations (PC’s): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ E-excavators’: go digg in the Wayback Machine and store the excavations in the Historical (e-) Depot </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Share your stories and memories at the Open History Lab ( ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>2. Museum space  Tourist Tours </li></ul><ul><ul><li>/Lost+found: ‘cabinet of curiosities’: hardware (servers, terminals, modems etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Billboard 1: What is DDS, Where are you, What is this site? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Billboard 2: Timeline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Billboard 3: Tools: excavators (=pc’s), buckets (storage), ziploc bags (usb sticks), shovels (mouses, UNIX commando's), measuring tape (scripts) and pitfalls (system errors, error 404 this page cannot be found , broken images, linkrot etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Billboards 4, 5, 6: screenshots of /Lost+Found </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>/lost+found: interfaces of the virtual city </li></ul>January, 15th of 1994 Juni, 10th of 1995
  14. 14. <ul><li>/lost+found: squares </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>/lost+found: projects </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>/lost+found: excavations </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>/lost+ found </li></ul>
  18. 18. So, what’s next??? <ul><li>Information Research & Data Recovery: </li></ul><ul><li>1. The Grave Diggers Party: B ring Out Your Hardware </li></ul><ul><li>2. Rise of the Zombies: Finding Lost Bytes: crowdsourcing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological  github; unzip the code, what should be where, how is it related? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social  blog, facebook; get the dates right, fact finding and data research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3. Flight of the Zombies: DDS in 'multiple points of time‘ (emulators) </li></ul><ul><li>4. Enlightenment: Let the Bytes Free! </li></ul>
  19. 19. Project re:DDS, WebArcheology <ul><li>Please join us!  </li></ul><ul><li>TNX to: </li></ul><ul><li>Our partners: De Digitale Stad Holding BV, IISG, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Waag Society, old inhabitants, (ex) DDS employees, DDS affined webarcheologists and Karin Spaink </li></ul><ul><li>And: </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction to Digital Archeology </li></ul><ul><li>The Digital Dark Age en het voorkomen van de digitale midlife crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Webarchivering op de Koninklijke Bibliotheek </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines for the Preservating of Digital Heritage (March 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>IIPC: Web Archives: The Future(s), by Eric T. Meyer, Arthur Thomas, Ralph Schroeder (2011, University of Oxford) </li></ul><ul><li>Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage: UNESCO </li></ul><ul><li>Virtueel Platform - Archive 2020 conferentie </li></ul><ul><li>Born-digital bijzondere collecties. Rapport van de werkgroep Born‐digital van de UKB‐commissie Bijzondere Collecties </li></ul><ul><li>NRC: Het digitale drama. Nederlandse digitale archieven blijken nauwelijks bruikbaar. September, 10 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Documenteren en archiveren in een digitaal tijdperk, door Ine Poppe zie virtueel plaform </li></ul><ul><li>Born‐digital erfgoedmaterialen bij een selectie van Nederlandse erfgoedinstellingen een verkennend onderzoek In opdracht van Stichting DEN, door Maurits van der Graaf (1 februari 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Noodklok voor behoud van born-digital erfgoed door Maurits van der Graaf </li></ul>