Archives

The Future of the Past: Modernizing the New York Times Archive

While our original goal was to modernize our digital archive, the migration project has led to opportunities for future projects to engage our readers in our treasure trove of historical news data.
From The Future of the Past: Modernizing the New York Times Archive - The New York Times
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Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years

Hi.co, a website that allows its users to post “moments” with a photo and annotation, plans a similar trip to the distant future. The operators, Craig Mod (who has also previously written for The Atlantic) and Chris Palmieri, announced today that the site will freeze service in September 2016. However, all posts present in the site’s database at that time will be microprinted onto a two-by-two-inch nickel plate. The entire site—2,000,000 words and 14,000 photos—should fit on a single disk. Several copies will be made and distributed across the globe; the Library of Congress has already been secured as a repository. The plates have a lifespan as long as 10,000 years, and they may be viewed with a 1,000-power optical microscope.
From Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years - The Atlantic
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New York Public Library Invites a Deep Digital Dive

Most items in the public-domain release have already been visible at the library’s digital collections portal. The difference is that the highest-quality files will now be available for free and immediate download, along with the programming interfaces, known as APIs, that allow developers to use them more easily.

Crucially — if wonkily — users will also have access to information from the library’s internal rights database, letting them know which items are free of what the library is carefully calling “known United States copyright restrictions.”

From New York Public Library Invites a Deep Digital Dive - The New York Times

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Rhizome Awarded $600,000 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build Webrecorder

Rhizome is thrilled to announce today that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the institution a two-year, $600,000 grant to underwrite the comprehensive technical development of Webrecorder, an innovative tool to archive the dynamic web. The grant is the largest Rhizome has ever received and arrives at the start of its 20th anniversary year in 2016.

The web once delivered documents, like HTML pages. Today, it delivers complex software customized for every user, like individualized social media feeds. Current digital preservation solutions were built for that earlier time and cannot adequately cope with what the web has become. Webrecorder, in contrast, is a human-centered archival tool to create high-fidelity, interactive, contextual archives of social media and other dynamic content, such as embedded video and complex javascript, addressing our present and future.

From Rhizome

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Will Future Historians Consider These Days The Digital Dark Ages?

We are awash in a sea of information, but how to historians sift through the mountain of data? In the future, computer programs will be unreadable, and therefore worthless, to historians.

From Will Future Historians Consider These Days The Digital Dark Ages? : NPR

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High Treason (1929), movie preservation success story

In 2005, Kevin Tripp, executive director and archivist for the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association, responded to a caller in Washington State who had inherited a box of old motion picture films. The films included the sound version of the 1929 sf thriller High Treason, long thought lost. Tripp arranged for the nitrate film to be transferred to the Library of Congress for restoration. The British Film Institute premiered the restored version in 2014. On December 6th, the restored version will be shown at the Anchorage International Film Festival.

Some Thoughts On Digital Objects and ArchivesSpace

The digital object component records might also include extent information, more specific rights information, or...???

It's been exciting to think about the possibilities of ASpace's digital object record, but the fairly wide-open nature of the endeavor is also daunting, as there's no established best practices to fall back on.  What do you think?  How are (or would) you proceed?  We'd love to get your feedback and/or reactions!

From ArchivesSpace-Archivematica-DSpace Workflow Integration: Digital Objects and ArchivesSpace

How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting

Our cultural history is crumbling. Not because of bad education—though one might make that argument—but because of chemistry.

Between the late 60s and the late 80s, much of our culture—from the Nixon trials on television to unreleased music from famous artists like the Beatles—was recorded on magnetic tape, and this tape is starting to disintegrate. Some of the audio and visual data has already been safely adapted to digital storage, but the majority hasn’t—and it’s a problem of massive proportions.

From How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting - Facts So Romantic

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The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library

“The idea is that you’re not just conserving the image digitally—you can actually restore it digitally,” Seales explained, in his earnest, go-getter way. The potential struck him in 1995, when he was assisting Kevin Kiernan, an English professor, on a digital-imaging project involving the only extant copy of “Beowulf,” the medieval masterwork, which is in the British Library. The manuscript was damaged in a fire in 1731. The Kentucky team used a variety of techniques, including one called multispectral imaging, or MSI—developed by NASA for use in mapping mineral deposits during planetary flyovers—to make the letters stand out from the charred background. The basic principle is that different surfaces reflect light differently, especially in the infrared part of the spectrum. Inked letters will therefore reflect at different wavelengths from those of the parchment or vellum or papyrus they are written on.

From The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library - The New Yorker

A digital portrait of Colonial life

Launched Monday, the website of the Colonial North American Project so far includes 150,000 images of diaries, journals, notebooks, and other rare documents from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Part of the University’s endeavor to digitize all its collections and make them available free of charge, the Colonial North American Project is unique because of its scale. According to a 2011 survey, the material is scattered through 12 repositories — from Houghton Library to the Harvard University Archives to Loeb Music Library.

From A digital portrait of Colonial life | Harvard Gazette

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