Re: Thinking Blog

A weekly blog featuring perspectives from a variety of contributors on topics relating to the emerging digital environment, research, and higher education.

Re:Thinking

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    Collaborative partnerships between large and small institutions create a platform for organizations with shared goals to work on a project beneficial to both institutions over a specified length of time. When deciding whether a collaborative partnership might work for your organization, it is important to identify common goals, potential benefits, organizational weaknesses, and best practices. Institutional partnerships can create new opportunities for funding, access to technological resources, and staffing; they can also lead to improved community relations and more prospects for collaborative partnerships through increased visibility. The most significant benefit of collaborative partnerships, however, lies in the ability of large and small institutions to attain goals that they could...

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    If you have been anywhere near digital image repositories in the past five years, you might have heard of IIIF (pronounced triple-EYE-eff), or the International Image Interoperability Framework. There are several different ways to describe what IIIF is, but a current favorite is that IIIF is a community working together to create, test, refine, implement and promote shared application programming interface (API) specifications for interoperable functionality for digital image repositories. So what exactly is “interoperability,” and why should anyone care? Imagine a row of silos, all containing different types of grain. Now, imagine the silos as digital image repositories, containing digital images of important cultural artifacts like manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, sheet...

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    Audio and audiovisual materials of significant value often fall under the stewardship of archivists who lack specialized training regarding their description, storage, and maintenance needs. For this reason, the thought of writing a competitive grant proposal for a digital reformatting project might seem a tall order. What are the most archivally-sound digital formats in which to transfer these open-reel tapes? How many hours do I assume it takes to digitize all the content off of formats X, Y, and/or Z? How do I tell which of my recordings are the most, well, at risk? Through the new Recordings at Risk (RaR) grant competition, CLIR aims to help professionals in a variety of contexts identify institutional priorities for digital reformatting, build relationships with partners, raise...

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    This summer, CLIR announced funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the initial planning phase of the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME). This project’s impetus is the tragic violence and loss of life currently afflicting the Middle East and North Africa regions, accompanied by rampant looting and destruction of priceless objects of plastic art, rare books and manuscripts, and architecture. In planning to construct a virtual library populated by digital surrogates of the cultural legacy of the Middle East, we aspire to provide greater security for those artifacts at most risk by creating electronic records with appropriate metadata and high resolution imagery that can be easily traced by provenance and history and, if stolen, tracked across borders. While the...

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    Katherine Thornton, CLIR postdoctoral fellow in data curation at Yale University Library, coauthored this piece with Euan Cochrane, digital preservation manager at Yale University Library. It is a condensed version of a longer post published by the Open Preservation Foundation. We’re exploring Wikidata, the (relatively new) Wikipedia for data, as a knowledge base for digital preservation information and would appreciate feedback and involvement. At Yale University Library we are beginning a new program of work (with funding from both CLIR and IMLS ) to systematically preserve software to support the long-term preservation of our digital collections. One goal of this work is to enable every digital object under our management to be associated with a representative interaction...

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    Ten to fifteen years. That’s the length of time preservationists like Mike Casey say we could have to reformat twentieth-century audio and audiovisual content in collecting institutions before degradation and format obsolescence (a.k.a. Casey’s “ evil twin-headed monster Degralescence ”) render that content lost forever. Those are scary numbers, especially considering the enormous amounts of time-based media our libraries, archives, and museums currently hold. A 2014 study done by AVPreserve and the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) estimated that there are over 250 million “preservation worthy” sound recordings in U.S. institutions that have not yet been digitized; about $20 billion would be required to reformat that audio so we can...