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This blog is cross-posted from softwarepreservationnetwork.org . Co-authors are Alexandra Chassanoff, Jessica Meyerson, Katherine Thornton, Cynde Moya, and Christa Williford For decades, researchers and practitioners in information science, digital preservation, and allied fields have discussed the necessity of software preservation: preserving software is a prerequisite for preserving and providing access to digital cultural heritage and research, and software is increasingly considered a research product or artifact in itself. The rapid pace of software development and change makes it urgent for those interested in the practice of preserving ...
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Editor's note: This blog is the first in a series focusing on CLIR Affilates. Subsequent posts will describe some of our international Affiliates in greater detail, noting the rationale for these partnerships and the transformative potential of working together. During the last few years, CLIR and DLF have established a new category of organizational partnerships that we call Affiliates, a term that is purposefully flexible, connoting alliances with various strengths of cooperation. These range from incubating the current transition of NITLE (the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education) to deeper engagement with management and strategy-setting ...
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The 2016 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union may forever be remembered for the passionate remarks delivered by California governor Jerry Brown . Governor Brown spoke, in part, about the need for scientific data to be collected and preserved, and its importance in understanding climate change. Later that week at the same meeting, our CLIR-funded digitization project received the International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences . We were happy to be a part of this meeting and contribute to the efforts in preserving valuable scientific data. The study of glaciers, in the field and on film, gives us valuable information about their behavior and ...
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Ten hamsters pile on top of each other. As one hamster on the third row of this unusual pyramid smiles out at us, another boosts the topmost hamster up. It starts to peek up and out of their cage The Collective conference bag. Authors photograph . This whimsical image appeared on each of the bags piled behind the registration desk of The Collective , a conference held March 2-3, 2017 in Knoxville, TN. A little absurd and absolutely unexpected, the hamsters were the sole feature on the conference swag-bag and instantly set the tone of the conference. This initial impression suggested that The Collective would not offer a typical conference experience ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 projects 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 ...
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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. Were 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. ...
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Ten to fifteen years. Thats 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. Caseys 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 ...
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NDSR Art

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NDSR Art NDSR Art is a residency program that helps art and cultural institutions tackle issues of digital preservation and stewardship. The program supports art librarians, art information professionals, and visual resource curators in their endeavor to provide long-term, durable access to institutional repositories, born-digital works of art, and interactive technologies. Applications for host institutions are being accepted through Monday, October 31, 2016. NDSR Art is a partnership of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and ARLIS/NA , made possible with generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services via a 2016 ...
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Last October at the Digital Library Federation’s (DLF) annual Forum in Vancouver, Canada, I served on the final plenary panel, asked to speak about themes and topics of that Forum that struck me as especially compelling. I reported that the emphasis throughout the conference on the correlation of the social implications and potential societal benefits (as well as potential disruption) of the technologies associated with building and evolving digital libraries was invigorating. The Forum had become far more than a technology venue focused on sharing insights into code, platforms, and apps, and while continuing to focus on those critical issues the speakers ...
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I recently attended the 2016 Leading Change Institute (LCI) , a program sponsored through CLIR and EDUCAUSE, with 37 amazing and talented higher education IT and library professionals. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I was excited and honored to be there. The week-long experience included presentations by diverse and inspiring guest speakers from across higher education, engaging team work, challenging projects, and extraordinary discussions. Elliott Shore and Joanne Kossuth deserve special thanks for their wisdom, patience, and encouragement, and for designing this incredible experience. I walked away with a cadre of new friends, colleagues, and ...
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Missed Connections

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One of the best things about CLIR’s immersion in the educational, information, and cultural professions is an ongoing chance to be inspired by people who spend their time preparing for a better world. Often working within tight financial constraints, students, teachers, librarians, archivists, curators, and technologists make remarkable moments happen—bringing people together with histories, cultures, and ideas—nourishing our minds so that we might grow. Lately I find myself doubly grateful for the privilege of these connections. This week, thousands of librarians across the country prepare to travel to the American Library Association’s annual ...
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On the heels of the US Supreme Court's decision not to review the Author's Guild case against Google's Digital Library project (which means that at least for the time being book digitization and selective online sampling and machine-driven "reading" is safe), everyone who cares about access and digitization preservation of cultural heritage has breathed a sigh of relief. This, however, is tempered by the realization that most large-scale digital libraries (whatever their degree of openness) have thus far focused on textual material: Internet Archive , Open Library , HathiTrust , and Google Books chief among them. This is ...
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Embedded librarianship has increasingly shifted the emphasis from one-time reference services to developing highly focused, targeted, specialized research assistance. Although embedded liaison programs have been previously adopted across institutions, embedding data consultants is a relatively new approach that many academic libraries have introduced into the process of building research data services. In this blog post, I’d like to share my personal and professional experience as a researcher embedded in faculty research—as one form of data consulting—which enabled me to become fully engaged in the work of the team, group, or department in order to offer ...
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For four packed days (and nights) from April 6th to 9th, close to 200 archivists, curators, scholars and artists gathered at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpepper, VA for the tenth iteration of the Orphan Film Symposium . Participants representing institutions throughout North America and more than 16 countries convenedat the LoC’s state-of-the-art facilities (and in-house art deco-style theater), in what is surely a place of pilgrimage for any film lover amidst the rolling hills of North Virginia. Dedicated to screening, studying, preserving and disseminating a wide variety of non-theatrical, educational, ...
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Looking at the titles of presentations and workshops at recent digital library- and curation-related conferences such as the DLF Forum, iPRES, IASSIST, and IDCC, it's hard to miss the popularity of topics related to research data management. Although describing, preserving, and sharing data has become increasingly common, the software tools, parameters, and workflows used to extract knowledge from that data aren't usually so well curated. This hinders the ability of others to extend or replicate the work. In February, I attended a workshop in Washington DC, hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)—the publisher of Science ...
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How much does and should digitization cost? It’s a simple enough question. You take the cost per item, multiply it by the number of items, and you’re done: problem solved. What’s that? You ask what the cost per item is? Well, it depends. . . what type of collection is it? Where is the collection based? Who’s doing the labor? Are there any preservation activities that need to be incorporated into the digitization workflow? How about metadata? How thorough do you want the records? What quality of images do you need? Where are you storing the digital files? What’s your sustainability plan? How about discoverability? Do you have digitization equipment at ...
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First convened in 2013 to reinvigorate and rejuvenate higher education in the United States, the Committee on Coherence at Scale believes that the inherited norms, customs, traditions, and institutions that have structured academic research and teaching have contributed to an expensive, fragmented, and inefficient organization of higher education that now needs to be constructively challenged, redefined, and subsequently reassembled. As the Committee looks ahead, several founding tenets remain in play; we also expect to continue investing in most of the areas of recent activities. Some changes regarding the constituencies we wish to engage, and the pursuit of ...
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