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Digitization, Preservation and the Future of the Archive Paul Conway University of Michigan 23 rd Annual Preservation Conference National Archives and.

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Presentation on theme: "Digitization, Preservation and the Future of the Archive Paul Conway University of Michigan 23 rd Annual Preservation Conference National Archives and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Digitization, Preservation and the Future of the Archive Paul Conway University of Michigan 23 rd Annual Preservation Conference National Archives and Records Administration

2 The Legacy of Digitization? “I aspired to authenticity, but I never got beyond verisimilitude.” 23/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference Copyrighted New Yorker cartoon deleted

3 The Past is Prologue?  Much learned about digitization in 15 years  How to use an entire suite of technologies  Transformation of service models  Costs of digitization  Current risks and limitations  Success brings fundamental questions about the nature of the products we are producing through digitization. 33/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

4 Large Scale Collection Building Thematic General Purpose Cultural Heritage OR Commercial Purpose-built 43/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

5 Key Notes  Digitization  Representation  Digitized Archives  Implications  Future of the Archive 53/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

6 All Digital All the Time “Organic is nice, but haven’t you got anything digital?” 63/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference Copyrighted New Yorker cartoon deleted

7 Working Assumptions  All digital all the time  Insatiable demand for digital content  Technological maturity  Pressure for scale and breadth  Permission granted to digitize 73/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

8 Motivation to Digitize “O.K., so I dig a hole and put the bone in the hole. But what’s my motivation for burying it?” 83/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference Copyrighted New Yorker cartoon deleted

9 Access Is a Given  Web is access by default  Purposes broader than delivery  Experimentation less pressing need  Prototyping and acceptable risk  Accessibility, not access, is the goal  An investment in persistence 93/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

10 What is Digitization? Digital products are the cumulative result of many decisions, small and large  Selection or reappraisal  Technical transformation  Text and image, in rich combinations  Metadata, derived and added  Assembly and interface re-presentation 103/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

11 Written in Stone? “Are these just guidelines, or are they actual new policies?” 113/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference Copyrighted New Yorker cartoon deleted

12 Guidelines for Digitization National Archives (2004) Library of Congress (2006) North Carolina (2007) Colorado (2008) 123/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

13 Common Post-Scan Decisions From Master to Access Versions: 1. Assign color profile (screen or print) 2. Adjust/Correct color 3. Adjust/Correct tone (histogram) 4. Crop /deskew 5. Reverse polarity (negative to positive) 6. Apply sharpen mask 7. Remove scanner and film effects 8. Resize for screen display (store master) [Conway 2008] 133/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

14 Pictorial Rendering Intent The photographic image is rendered. (As Is) – Match appearance of original The original appearance is rendered. (As Was) – Reverse aging (color fading, physical damage) The photographer’s goal is rendered. (As Desired) – Adjust for errors in exposure or processing The original scene is rendered. (As Seen) – Remove effects of intermediate [Frey & Reilly 1999/2006: 28-29] 143/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

15 Digitization Reference  Input versus Output  Replacement versus representation [Susstrunk 2002] 153/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

16 Perspectives on Products [Puglia & Rhodes 2007] 163/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

17 Perspectives on Transformation 1. Copying  Contrast with photocopying and microfilm 2. Faithful reproduction  Quality and integrity 3. Representation  New media communication “The trick … is to produce a new artifact which preserves those features of the original that are essential to the purposes for which the copy is being made.” [Levy 1998] 173/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

18 Representation “…representation is always of something or someone, by something or someone, to someone.”  Intentionality [camera | scanner]  Processes [darkroom | Photoshop]  Materiality [content | artifact] Digitizer User Digital Surrogate Document Axis of representation Axis of communication [W.J.T. Mitchell 1995] 183/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

19 Materiality and Meaning  Some meanings not translated into digital form [Koltun 1999]  Formerly joined – materiality and meaning now result in ‘ephemeral ghost’ [Sassoon 2004]  Photography and digitization share the “illusion of transparency and neutrality” [Schwartz 2000]  “Original” is fiction: surrogate may be superior [Mitchell 2003]  User behavior and experience are now key defining principles [Cameron 2007] 193/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

20 Remediation and Re-presentation “Our culture wants both to multiply its media and erase all traces of mediation…” [Bolter & Grusin 1996]  Transparency is goal  Hypermediacy: presence of old in new gives a sense of multiplicity  Technologies of rendering (making visible) are tools for mediating mediation “The materiality of the digital acts as a testimony to its own history and origin, and hence authenticity.” [Cameron 2007] 203/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

21 Archival Properties “With the doubloon, you’ve got the intrinsic value of the metal plus the numismatic considerations.” 213/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference Copyrighted New Yorker cartoon deleted

22 Archival Properties  Continuum of archival values added  Derived from source [significant properties]  Embedded through processes [recordness]  Validated by use [substitution]  At what point does the digitized become an archive?  Archivisation [Nesmith 2002]  Provenance [Cook 2001]  Integrity [Duranti 1995] 223/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

23 What is Preservation? Preservation is the creation of digital products worth maintaining over time. [Visual Telegraph, London to Deal, 1794] Values Transcendence Transparency Persistence Context 233/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

24 “I should have had him put into a more manageable format years ago.” Preservation in Repositories 243/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference Copyrighted New Yorker cartoon deleted

25 Implications for Operations  Subtleties of workflow  Guidelines for digital products  Communication of intent  Embracing flexible uses 253/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

26 Implications for Education  Archives and visual learning  Learning to manage uncertainty  Archives out of the box  Flirting with convergence  Embracing a theory of digitization for preservation 263/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

27 “I’ll be happy to give you innovative thinking. What are the guidelines?” Digitization, Preservation 273/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference Copyrighted New Yorker cartoon deleted

28 Future of the Archive  Beyond reproduction to representation  Beyond retrieval to significant uses  Beyond access to preservation  Transcendent applications  Transcendent: 1. Surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits; pre-eminent; superior or supreme; extraordinary. Also, loosely, eminently great or good; cf. ‘excellent’. 283/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference [OED, 2 nd ed.]

29 T HANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION. Paul Conway University of Michigan

30 References (1)  Association of Research Libraries. (2004) Recognizing Digitization as a Preservation Reformatting Method.  Blouin, F. and W. Rosenberg (eds). (2005) Archives, Documentation, and Institutions of Social Memory: Essays from the Sawyer Seminar. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.  Bolter, J. D. and R. Grusin. (1996) “Remediation.” Configurations 4 (3):  Cameron, F. (2007) “Beyond the Cult of the Replicant: Museums and Historical Digital Objects – Traditional Concerns, New Discourses,” In Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse, ed. by F. Cameron & S. Kenderdine, pp Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.  Conway, P. (1996) Preservation in the Digital World. Washington, D.C.: Commission on Preservation and Access.  Conway, P. (2000) “Overview: Rationale for Digitization and Preservation.” In Handbook for Digital Conversion Projects: A Management Tool. Edited by Maxine Sitts. Andover, MA: Northeast Document Conservation Center.  Conway, P. (2008) “Best Practices for Digitizing Photographs: A Network Analysis of Influences.” Proceedings of IS&T’s Archiving 2008, Imaging Science & Technology, Berne, Switzerland, June /26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

31 References (2)  Cook, T. (1994) “Electronic Records, Paper Minds: The Revolution in Information Management and Archives in the Post-Custodial and Post Modernist Era,” Archives & Manuscripts 22 (2):  Cook, T. (2001) “Fashionable Nonsense or Professional Rebirth: Postmodernism and the Practice of Archives,” Archivaria 51 (Spring):  Duranti, L. (1995) “Reliability and Authenticity: The Concepts and Their Implications,” Archivaria 39 (Spring):  Eichhorn, K. (2008) “Archival Genres: Gathering Texts and Reading Spaces,” Invisible Culture 12 (May 2008).  Erway, R. and J. Schaffner. (2007) Shifting gears: Gearing up to get into the flow. Dublin, OH: OCLC.  Frey, F. S. and J. M. Reilly. (1999/2006) Digital imaging for photographic collections: Foundations for technical standards. Rochester: Image Permanence Institute.  Folsom, E. (2007) “Database as Genre: The Epic Transformation of Archives,” PMLA 122 (5):  Koltun, L. (1999) “The promise and threat of digital options in an archival age,” Archivaria 47 (Spring):  313/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

32 References (3)  Levy, D. (1998) “Heroic Measures: Reflections on the Possibility and Purpose of Digital Preservation,” Proceedings of Digital Libraries ’98, Association of Computing Machinery.  Mitchell, W.J.T. (1995) “Representation,” In Critical terms for literary study, 2 nd Ed., ed. F. Lentricchia and T. McLaughlin, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  Mitchell, W.J.T. (2003) “The Work of Art in the Age of Biocybernetic Reproduction,” Modernism / modernity 10 (3):  Nesmith, T. (2002) “Seeing Archives: Postmodernism and the Changing Intellectual Place of Archives,” American Archivist 65 (Spring/Summer):  Puglia S. and E. Rhodes. (2007) “Digital Imaging – How far have we come and what still needs to be done?” RLG DigiNews 11 (15 April).  Ross, S. (2007) Digital preservation, archival science and methodological foundations for digital libraries, Keynote Address at the 11th European Conference on Digital Libraries, Budapest (17 September).  Sassoon, J. (2004) “Photographic Materiality in the Age of Digital Reproduction.” In E. Edwards, ed., Photographs, Objects, Histories, London: Routledge. 323/26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference

33 References (4)  Schwartz, J. M. (2000) “’Records of simple truth and precision:’ Photography, archives, and the illusion of control,” Archivaria 50 (Fall):  Stoler, A. L. (2002) “Colonial Archives and the Arts of Governance: On the Content in the Form,” Archival Science 2, no. 1-2:  Süsstrunk, S. (2002) “Managing Colour in Digital Libraries,” In Colour Engineering: Achieving Device Independent Colour, London: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.  Yeo, G. (2008) “Concepts of Record (2): Prototypes and Boundary Objects,” American Archivist 71 (Spring/Summer): /26/200923rd Annual Preservation Conference


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