Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives
A presentation about the challenges of long term digital preservation of CAD, Digital Audio Tapes, digital videotapes, websites, social media, email, text documents, and images at the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Given by Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, Electronic Archivist, at the Smithsonian Institution Digitization Fair held in Washington, DC in 2010.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Preserving Digital Materials at the Smithsonian Institution Archives<br />Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig<br />Electronic Records Archivist<br />
Long-term digital preservation<br />More than 350 accessions contain electronic records in a variety of types including video, sound, images, databases, applications, websites, and text. These range from exhibit planning documents to unit handbooks to conference images. <br />One collection can contain thousands of files<br />Files arrive via removable media or file transfer<br />Goal is to ensure authenticity, integrity, and accessibility<br />Use best practices and accepted archival standards <br />Use formats that are open, lossless, and widely accepted. Proprietary formats, i.e., Microsoft Word and WordPerfect are problematic<br />Document all processing steps including virus scans and checksums<br />Perform full-level preservation as much as possible. Bit preservation at minimum for files we cannot convert or emulate.<br />Original files always maintained<br />Images and video are the top types in terms of size<br />Files kept on backed-up SIA servers, LTO tapes <br />
CAD – Computer assisted design<br />A 2-D CAD drawing of an aerial view of the plan for the National Museum of the American Indian, 2003. View in AutoCAD proprietary software. SIA Accession 06-012<br />
Same 2-D CAD drawing preserved as a PDF file. SIA Accession 06-012<br />
Digital audio tapes <br />Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra<br />Lena Horne<br />Jazz Smithsonian Radio Broadcast with Lena Horne, “A Spanish Tinge,” 1997<br />All clips from SIA Accession 04-062<br />Introduction by David Baker, SMJO<br />“Manteca” performed by SMJO<br />Using DAT machine on loan from Smithsonian Folkways to conduct digital-to-digital transfers<br />Audio files being preserved as WAV/Broadcast WAV<br />
Digital Video <br />“The Colbert Report – National Treasure: Portrait of Stephen” video<br />SIA Accession 10-111<br />NASM Udvar-Hazy Center preview video <br />SIA Accession 04-055<br /><ul><li>Digital A/V files are huge and complex
Preservation tools and formats/codecs not as straightforward as other types.
We also have been digitizing our video histories</li></li></ul><li>SI Websites and social media<br />Archiving SI websites since the late 1990s through a variety of methods<br />Now using open-source archival crawler Heritrix and other tools for social media captures<br />
Email collections <br />Conducted three-year grant-funded project to study techniques for long-term preservation of email collections<br />Resulted in tools and procedures now in use <br /> at SI Archives<br />
Images<br />Roxie C. Laybourne, a pioneering forensic scientist at the Smithsonian Institution,<br />examines aircraft parts. <br />SIA Accession <br />04-086<br />Exhibition photograph from the National Portrait Gallery’s “Champions of American Sport.”<br />SIA Accession 09-066<br />Original formats include GIF, JPG, EPS, TIF, PCD, etc.<br />Accepted preservation format currently is TIF. <br />Smithsonian American Art Museum staff paints the “Wall of Expression” in commemoration of Sept. 11, 2001.<br />SIA Accession 03-127<br />
Text documents <br />MS Word document <br />from SIA Accession 02-094<br />WordPerfect document <br />from SIA Accession 95-052<br />Rich Text <br />Format (RTF) document <br />from SIA Accession 06-058<br />Numerous word-processing files and spreadsheets<br />Preservation format is PDF/A or PDF<br />