Follow posts tagged #digital preservation in seconds.Sign up
“If you write a post and put it on a blog, that's a historical document. If you change your template, then that entry looks completely different. It's the same words, but not the same meaning. This all depends on what historical questions that people will be asking and we can't know what they will want. ”—Josh Greenberg, Digital Preservation and Blogs, SXSW 2006
Microfiche? That's so 80s!
I was reading a friend’s Facebook wall post when I noticed the comment, “Microfiche? That’s so 80s.”
While I can appreciate the poster’s perspective, microfiche is still being used and is a safe choice if you want to keep your information usable and accessible over the long term. Digital preservation is a relatively new area of inquiry and practice with a bright future but what are we to do in the meantime? Migrate data? Refresh data? Emulate? Digital obsolescence and proprietary formats plague information management making it difficult to predict how we will access our information ten, twenty, fifty and a hundred years from now. That being said, I have not encountered an organization with a documented digital preservation strategy. There are backlogs of paper records and a lot of effort is spent on current and pressing issues such as e-discovery, privacy & freedom of information acts, email management, and implementing ECM solutions to meet current business needs.
In this environment, it is important to remember that microfiche and microform are our friends. They are admissible in court and governed by law, industry standards and best practices. In addition, it is important to note the following:
- both are relatively static formats with minimal associated costs (with respect to other strategies)
- they are easy to use & accessible
- they maximize storage space and can play an important role in your vital records program
- and, boast a life expectancy of hundreds of years if stored in the right conditions
I think the comment really highlights the difference between archives and libraries. Academic and large public reference libraries aside, if you walked into an average public library would you come face to face with microfiche or microfilm? Probably not. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so picky, but I was trained as an archivist!
P.S. - if you still think microfiche is irrelevant, at least it made its way into a hip song made for hip young people.
FREE Digital Preservation webinars, this April
The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) is offering free Introduction to Digital Preservation webinars this April. If you’re not a “professional” but interested in this stuff, I would totally recommend taking advantage of this - I’ve seen webinar registrations go for hundreds of dollars, and usually you have to be a member of a library/archives professional association to get anything discounted or free.
But here it is! Free information for everyone, regardless of who you are or what you do by day! Higher attendance shows support for opportunities like this in the future, so jump on and enjoy :)
I'm seeing clearly now...
So Adobe rolled out their unblur technology at the Adobe Max conference a few days ago. I recall seeing a version of this a while back (might have been a CHI video or something similar) and was impressed then. It’s pretty cool technology and could rescue quite a few photos. Based on the way its algorithm works, I doubt it’ll work on misfocused photos though so the impact may not be as great as people are expecting though.
But the bigger implication relates back to what I was talking about in terms of our digital photo archives. If you’d been ruthless editing the photos based on focus as a criteria, you’d probably have tossed a lot of photos that might be saved with the unblur technology. The question is this: how much do we hoard with the belief that future technology might unlock what is currently unusable?