New Media and Social Memory

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Ippolito at Future Proof symposium, 2017Reinterpretation as a preservation strategy has been called “radical” and “dangerous,” yet this unconventional approach has seen a surge of interest in preservation communities in the past year. In a departure from conventional wisdom about conservation, a group of European preservation experts recently invited Still Water’s Jon Ippolito to reassess this controversial technique as a mainstream model for conserving cultural heritage.
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future_proof_lima_logoInterpreting the past has long been the province of historians, but reinterpreting it has recently become a concern of conservators. This most powerful, and most controversial, of preservation strategies can demand techniques not found in the traditional conservation lab, from 3d scanning to DNA computing. Several international conferences from Mexico City to Amsterdam recently spotlighted Still Water’s ongoing research into reinterpretation as a means of prolonging or resuscitating the past.

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International Handbook Museum MediaOnce dusty storehouses of antique patrimony, today museums are forced to re-imagine themselves for an age where culture is shared from smartphone to smartphone. Recent Still Water publications on reinventing museums for the 21st century are cropping up in anthologies like the International Handbook of Museum Studies and in interviews from The Library of Congress.

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Ludwig Museum Budapest

Ludwig Museum Budapest

In 2015 Re-collection: Art, New Media and Social Memory continued to gather attention from libraries, universities, and the press. This just-published MIT Press book by Richard Rinehart and Still Water Co-Director Jon Ippolito surveys new paradigms and techniques for safeguarding culture for future generations in the face of imminent technological obsolescence. Since last summer the tour included presentations in Aachen, Brussels, Budapest, Lewisburg, Oslo, Taiwan, and Toronto, as well as a webinar for the National Information Standards Organization.

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ZAK virtual reality labThe German town of Karlsruhe is no stranger to advanced technology, as home to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the ZKM Center for Art and Technology Karlsruhe. In his keynote for the November 2014 Digital Archiving conference at the ZAK Center for Digital Tradition (CODIGT), Still Water Co-Director Jon Ippolito presented advanced technologies as both the means for and object of novel preservation techniques. Emerging in Europe and the Americas, these new strategies harness everything from emulation to crowdsourcing to virtual reality.

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Jon Ippolito in Mexico City, 2014Professionals across the spectrum of cultural heritage institutions are struggling to keep up with an increasingly digital landscape, as confirmed by the 30-odd contributions to Mexico’s first Symposium on Audiovisual and Digital Archiving (SIPAD). Today’s curators and conservators have their hands full coping with constantly changing video formats and Web standards, not to mention convincing legislators and administrators to support the enormous effort and time required to bring collections into the 21st century.

On the eve of Mexico’s famous Day of the Dead, a handful of presenters at this event organized by at the National Institute of Anthropology and History suggested that a solution for exhausted professionals may come from unexpected sources. In his concluding keynote for the week-long conference, Still Water co-director Jon Ippolito urged professionals to learn from the surprising successes of amateurs in rescuing artifacts that would otherwise have been lost to obsolescence.

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Re-collectionThe July discussion on the Yasmin email list focuses on MIT Press’s publication last month of Re-Collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory by Richard Rinehart and Jon Ippolito, which has been called the first academic book on new media preservation. Re-collection examines the challenge posed by new media to our long-term social memory, examining in depth such topics as amateur and professional emulation, crowdsourced preservation, and DNA storage.

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Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social MemoryRe-Collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory, the new book by Richard Rinehart and Jon Ippolito published this week by MIT Press, has already received acclaim from some high-profile reviewers.

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Dig 500 Wordle WarmAfter only a year online, the University of Maine’s graduate certificate in Digital Curation is being called “a national standard for the study of digital curation.”

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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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