Thursday, January 24, 2013

List of objects for homemade digital preservation

Homemade digital preservation is a term that I've invented myself. Some scholarly articles say personal digital preservation. In any case is digital preservation applied to our personal digital objects.

All of us know what digital preservation is as a way to preserve digital objects over time on the long-term, we have to decide whether we want to make homade digital preservation. This means preserve digital objects at home.

Many of us need to do digital preservation at home. We can not go to a great public institution, do not have specialized staff (well I do, but not everyone is, so take profit of it), money is often a problem and the time too. 

So, after all of these inconvinients, can we work on digital preservation at home? It is sure that most part of this technique depends on our purchasing power, but prior to know what we would need at home to digitally preserve things, ask yourself what you want to keep or you want to apply digital preservation of your personal documents. 

Here is a list of possible objects that you may have at home:

  • Pictures in paper format
  • Negatives of photographs
  • Slides. There are various sizes depending on the year they were done.
Paper documents:
  • personal letters
  • charts
  • postcards
  • poems,
  • business letters
  • official letters
  • various family documents
  • stamps,
  • kitchen recetes
  • tickets to the football games
  • tickets museums of your tours
  • travel brochures
  • airline tickets
  • official documents as passports,
  • ration cards
  • bus tickets
  • metro tickets
  • attractions tickets (Mary goes round, bumpers...) 
  • Opera tickets .... the list is endless

Graphic information
  • Beta format video clips
  • VHS
  • movies on super 8
  • 35mm
  • betacam
Digital Documents
  • documents written in Word
  • Wordperfect
  • WordStar,
  • Documents created in old computers such Amstrad 64, Amstrad 128, Spectrum, Atari computers
  • Powerpoint documents
  • spreadsheets Qpro, 
  • 1-2-3 spreadsheets
  • dBase
  • Access
  • Digital pictures
  • Digital video (there are different formats, discussed in later post), 
  • Autocad documents
  • E-mail in many programs: Outlook, Thunderbird, Gmail,  Hotmail, Yahoo
  • images and videos from you social networks accounts

Did I miss something?

send it to me or make a comment and we will add it to the list.

Information in physical support:

  • External hard disks,
  • computer hard disk from old computer that are away
  • CD
  • 5 "1/4 Floppy
  • 2" 1/2
  • Data tapes
  • ZIP drives, 
  • Some old computer with an unknown operating system 

This is a list of what we would have to preserve at home. 

First of all, organize your list and plan what you wants to keep.

In the next post we go through all these topics, I'll describe possibilities, review products, technical issues that we will gradually learn. 

Enjoy it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Is digital preservation for anyone?

I think so. The answer to this question is difficult because in our case requires investing some money in our digital heritage.
It is true that digital preservation is related to computers, librarians, archivist plenty of technical vocabulary as metadata, obsolescence, digital video, digital photography, digital formats and other words that often are hard to understand. But if you follow this blog you could obtain clues and tricks to survive and to have your own digital archive.
Clearly, we have much work to do. Our letters, our videos, our photos, our books. Lots of things to preserver in our digital live. 

It's probably that if you look for on the internet you'll find another blog from me talking about digital preservation and digital curation. It's true there is another blog but is not updated as this one is going to be.

I leave you with a video of the Library of Congress. Enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is digital preservation just an scholarly topict?

One of most surprising issues that can be viewed if one engages websites and blogs about digital preservation is that apparently it is a field devoted almost exclusively to academics or librarian staff with a very highly specialized expertise in computer science, archival documents and other common topics.

In a way, it is. This is because digital information that is kept in libraries and archives requires specialized personnel. From my point of view as a specialist in this field, I think we can also perform digital preservation activities at home with our electronics documents. I prefer to say electronics documents instead of digital documents, because digital information is created by electronics. So, you create electronic documents with digital capabilities.

I guess you wonder why? It's simple. Surely in your home you have electronic documents such as photos or videos and even your own music. I mention photos or videos because it is the first one that comes in mind. Do you think these photos or videos that you have at home, at a future time someone can be seen? With technology advances it is possible that in a near future, your children or grandchildren or you cannot see those pictures. And nobody can guarantee that.

It is also true that you have photos or videos in other devices you like music, mobiles, social networks and other sites on the cloud, but this issue will be discussed later. Therefore, we have to talk about personal digital preservation.

We have the ability to preserve digital documents so that we can keep at home, and that we ourselves can create a preservation plan, find software to help us and so on. Obviously this costs money but, what does not cost money? With the simple tools that you will see in this blog, you can collect your documents so that in the near future, you can view your information.

So the answer to the title of the blog is NO. Digital preservation can be practiced by everybody, obviously with its limitations and probably with more limitations than big institutions, but I think it's time to see how things can done and have a huge digital legacy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What is digital curation ?

One of the terms also used in the field of digital curation and preservation of digital objects is digital curation. Digital curation is the set of techniques used in an archive and one of them is digital preservation.

Digital curation and digital preservation are usually associated terms with national archives libraries and indeed so.

When a digital document, a Word file, spreadsheet file, a picture, a digital video or any other material comes in an archive, this is subjected to a life cycle to not have problems in the future, in order to access to its information. One of the techniques used in the work cycle is digital preservation.

The reality is that we also have a digital file, our personal digital archive. We distribute our digital materials everywhere in cameras, social networks, directories and all places.

But ... are  your digital materials safe? Do you have backup copies of your digital documents? Not only pictures, word documents, e-mails, spreadsheet documents, videos or digital music are part of you own archive. And all of them needs to be an achived document in any or tohter sense.

What happens if you lose your materials? Many of us regret losing the property of them if our computer crashes for one reason or another.

Since this blog is the idea that you can take home a small file, can know what file is a cycle that has to do with it and most of its documents.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What is digital preservation?

As noted in the previous post, we will talk in this blog of everything that is involved and digital preservation. There are many definitions of digital preservation and online surely you find many of them.

However I give you a sample: Digital preservation manages how to archive documents, in this case digital documents over time. This means that it purposes to preserve digital documents to be read in the future. All of this may be complicated but is rather simple. Suppose you have an electronic document on a computer Amstrad 64

This computer is a little bit old, you need to turn it on and access to information. If you look at the image above on the link you may see that it has a cassette. This cassette cannot be read in a normal cassette reader, this cassette is encoded and therefore your document too. 

The problem is that this document will need to be upgraded to a new platform, because the computer Amstrad CPC 64 is not commercially (only in second hand) available and hard to find replacements.

If you have the cassette with the information, but does not have the computer, you can use a technique. If you have a computer, you can use another technique. 

Option 1: I have the cassette with information and do not know how to open it. Well, we have a problem. Need Amstrad emulator that can read the cassette. An emulator is a software that allows you to see an old document in a new one. 

Option 2: Has your computer. Great!. The best thing to do is boot up your computer and open information. Here the problem will be how to get information to pass from one place to another. Note that you will be able to access that information in the future. So start with the technical name migration. Migration is transforming a document from an old computer to a new one. This is the idea, not the exact definition, but it's the idea.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome to the digital preservation world

5 inch floppy disk
Welcome to the blog on concepts and fundamentals in digital preservation. In this blog you will find all the information elements you need to know about digital preservation and why digital preservation is a matter that it affects you. When I mention you I want to say, a person, a company, an institution and to anybody who needs to deal with digital preservation matters.

In this blog you will find definitions, tips, concepts review, articles review, software review and more information. You'll also find tutorials explanations, references to the best sites for information on digital preservation.

I am a specialist in digital preservation. I have strong computer skills and librarian skills. However, in this blog I pretend to give clear and simple concepts related to digital preservation and digital curation.

It is an open blog where you can write post that I will answer as soon as possible and I hope you enjoy it.

It is a blog that will be useful to librarian students, teachers, specialists and non-specialists people. Everyone has a need for information on digital preservation. This blog will pretend to give an answer in this field and make know the latest trends.

You can solve technical doubts on this field, or technical questions that I can send to you through the post or by e-mail.

This blog will discuss the concepts of digital preservation, digital preservation, digital formats, metadata, digital legacy, obsolescence, analog cameras, digital cameras, computers, laptops, USB sticks, social networks, mobile phones and all electronic gadgets affecting in our lives and digital preservation.

So let’s start.
Imagine you have an ancient electronic document (or digital object) into a 5 inch floppy from any of your relatives, father, grandfather, mother, grandmother or any other one. This document for any reason, you needed to open it and at least to visualize its information. What would you do? Can you open this ancient document at home? Can you manipulate it? Can you print it? Can you write on it?

All these questions will try to be solved in this blog.

Enjoy it!