Forging the Future

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Tate tim Four SeasonsGraduate students in the University of Maine’s Digital Curation program do more than read archival theory and study metadata standards. As their final project for DIG 550 (Digital Preservation), several students chose real-life artworks to preserve using the techniques learned in class.

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13washington Library of Congress Teuben smaIs DOOM doomed? Should we say our last words for Word? Will Mozilla be a dinosaur?

These questions echoed through the Montpelier room of the Library of Congress earlier this week during Preserving.exe, a conference from 20-21 May on the challenges of keeping software alive for the long term. The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) invited Still Water’s John Bell and Jon Ippolito to represent the University of Maine’s Digital Curation program in this gathering, which also included conservators, scholars, librarians, astrophysicists, and industry reps from Microsoft to Mozilla.

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13washington Digital Curation sum 1 illWhether they manage bits for their local historical society or the Library of Congress, the digital era has placed added demands on today’s curators. The growing need for training in these new skills is one of the motivations for the University of Maine’s just-launched Digital Curation graduate program, but U-Me is not alone in recognizing this need.

On January 8th a Digital Curation summit in Washington, DC, brought together educators from U-Me together with the first wave of digital curation programs to meet with professional curators, librarians, and archivists from nationwide institutions with the aim of defining the knowledge and skills needed by today’s information caretakers.

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CivPreserving Virtual Worlds, an IMLS-funded initiative organized by the universities of Illinois, Stanford, and Maryland, was founded with an ambitious goal: to explore innovative methods for preserving the rich legacy of video games. Its case studies have ranged from vintage games like DOOM and Harpoon to more contemporary Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games such as World of Warcraft. The initiative even attempted to recommend options for documenting complex multiplayer environments such as Second Life.

The consortium’s organizers, led by Jerome McDonough of Illinois, invited Still Water Senior Researcher John Bell and co-director Jon Ippolito to their December advisory board meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways that Preserving Virtual Worlds could take advantage of Still Water’s preservation and access tools such as the Variable Media Questionnaire and the Metaserver.

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Avicom LogoThe keynote for this year’s International Audiovisual Festival on Museums and Heritage focuses on very new–and very old–technologies for crowdsourcing the curation and preservation of culture. Delivered by Still Water Co-Director Jon Ippolito, the presentation “Re-collection” draws on themes from the forthcoming book of the same name.

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The past few months have seen a spate of news stories that feature Still Water co-directors in TV, print, and online outlets. Here are some of the highlights:

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Digital Curation Logo illSyllabi are now online for the four core courses of the University of Maine’s brand new Digital Curation program. These include online classes in digital acquisition (DIG 500), representation (DIG 510), access (DIG 540), and preservation (DIG 550).

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CompdStill Water‘s archival tools were featured in a keynote at the Compatible Data conference organized by Micki McGee at Fordham University in New York on 24 September. This conference gathered data mavens from the New York Public Library, Columbia and Brown universities, and other prominent collections with the goal of finding a metadata Esperanto in the current Tower of Babel of competing standards.

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Ben Fino-Radin of Rhizome has published a plan to keep the organization’s venerable collection of digital art alive in the foreseeable future. The scheme builds on previous research by Richard Rinehart and Still Water’s Forging the Future coalition, of which Rhizome was a founding partner.

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10roma Maxxi Museum 4 illLast December Curator Laura Barrecca and Conservator Alessandra Barbuto invited Jon Ippolito to speak on cultural preservation at Rome’s Museum of the Art of the 21st century (MAXXI), a dramatic building by famed architect Zaha Hadid that opened in June.

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