We are passing on a request for help that you might also have; and a few answers sent in to help. If you have other suggestions, please post them to the comments!
“I’m the archivist and part of a digital preservation team at a small Catholic academic library. We have about 1500 full-time students. Some colleagues and I attended a Digital POWRR preservation workshop last year (which I highly recommend if it makes its way to your area). As part of our action plan to strengthen our digital file preservation methods and storage capabilities, we’re wondering what software/tools other similarly-sized academic libraries/archives are using for fixity checks and virus scans.
We learned about some tools at the workshop, but we’re not sure what’s best for our particular situation, and our campus IT department wants us to research what other benchmark institutions are using. We are NOT looking for a complete software package that includes hosting our files. Our files are hosted on the university server and will soon be backed up to cloud service. We just need recommendations for fixity checks and virus scans.
If anyone is doing something similar, can you tell me more about what products you are using for fixity checks and virus scans, and if you recommend them? Is there a one-time cost to implement the tools or do we need to allocate money annually for digital preservation?
Anything else you would like to share about digital preservation, including written preservation plans, would also be helpful.
The Huntington Library in San Marino, CA is working on a project of huge historical significance. They are working on decoding and digitizing 15,971 telegrams from the Civil War that were found hidden in a wooden foot locker for more than a century. This article from the LA Times details the contents of some of the telegrams, which are a window into the war experiences of the Civil War and include disease, fear, humor, and praise of President Lincoln. The telegrams were found to have come from the Union side, but the correspondence was coded for safety. According to the article, this led the Huntington Library to start “a Decoding the Civil War crowdsourcing campaign that relies on volunteers using cipher charts to unravel secret texts.” These volunteers, named “citizen archivists” continue to work through the ongoing task of deciphering the coded messages.
In addition to decoding the messages, the Huntington is working to digitize the documents to make them available online. The library is working with Zooniverse to put the documents online at the Decoding the Civil War website. Using digitization to preserve these formerly hidden documents is important to ensure they continue to provide a glimpse into this country’s history.
Check out the official site of the project for a glimpse into the decoding process, suggested reading, and links to more resources on the Civil War.
When you think of archives, you may picture dusty boxes or dark closets filled with preserved documents or other media. You maybe don’t think of 90 miles of shelves in climate controlled and “radiation hardened” vaults!
However, that is exactly where the Library of Congress is storing its Audio/Visual collection in Culpeper, Virginia. The storage facility is actually a former nuclear bunker that was built during the Cold War to protect huge amounts of money as well as up to 500 Federal employees. This article from the blog Architect of the Capital details the original goal of the bunker structure, pictures and illustrations of the site, and also the end goal of the Library of Congress to eventually digitize their film and video collection.
Watch this video from the Library of Congress that describes the Packard Campus and the process that the digital files go through to record and preserve them at the facility (it includes robotics!):
Managing Digital Content Over Time: An Introduction to Digital Preservation
What Will be Covered? Organizations of all kinds create and use a wide variety of digital resources in the course of business. These resources represent each organization’s intellectual capital and, as such, have value and need to be carefully managed and preserved. While many of the traditional resources found in libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions—books, photographs, objects—can survive for years with no intervention, our digital content is much more fragile. Managing it requires ongoing care and preservation activities to ensure continued access far into the future.
This online training series—based on the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) Program—introduces fundamental concepts for managing your digital content over time through a series of six modules delivered in three sessions. The sessions include: Identify and Select, Store and Protect, and Manage and Provide. Viewers can choose to register for all three sessions, or just one of the three.
Who Should Attend? This introductory series is for staff of any library, archive, museum, or other organization concerned about the long term care of their digital resources. No previous knowledge about the topic of digital preservation is assumed.