Digital Archiving Phenomena

By | October 10, 2014

I am thinking about my final project, so I have been digesting things I had ironically archived in my Diggo about archiving. These are some stuff that I came across. Hope it finds you well. Be curious to see your comments!

Way Back Machine

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"Seven million three hundred thousand new web pages are published every day, adding up to 250 megabytes of information produced a year for every man, woman, and child on earth. However, though information is now being created at an unprecedented pace, it is forgotten almost as quickly. Web pages, on average, exist for only about 100 days. Unlike mass-consumable printed material, web pages—even large, "dense" ones—often disappear without a trace. They "go dark." The templates and databases are discarded, dismantled, or over-written. Without the Archive, millions of pages of information would have disappeared completely. As the pace of information accelerates, we have fewer resources to understand the present and are remembering less and less about the past. Without this information we have no means to learn from our success and failures. "Paradoxically," Kahle has written, "with the explosion of the internet we live in a digital dark age."

This is a section from a longer article titled “Who owns history?” by David Womack. The article surrounds the Way Back Machine which captures a page from some of the most popular pages on the web every 2 months. It’s a project by Internet Archive and brings up interesting discussions surrounding ownership of content and archiving. How does copyright apply in data excavation for archiving purposes?

DNA-Based Storage Scheme: A realistic technology for large-scale, long-term and infrequently accessed digital archiving

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"As a proof of concept for practical DNA-based storage, we selected and encoded a range of common file formats to emphasize the ability to store arbitrary digital information. The five files comprised all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, a classic scientific paper, a medium-resolution color photograph of the European Bioinformatics Institute, a 26-s excerpt from Martin Luther King’s 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech and a Huffman code used in this study to convert bytes to base-3 digits, giving a total of 757,051 bytes or a Shannon information of 5.2×106 bits."

One concept that came up through Foucault was the concept of passing down an encountered view of the world to the next generation: transference of a selected aspect of a time period. Genes are as such and it is interesting that this article recognizes that. Designing an archeon inspired by DNA is unique and possibly a hopeful approach.
The other interesting factor that was brought up is the concept of “rarely accessed archives.” When we went to the NY archive in downtown, someone asked what happens with the material? Do they constantly get attended to? The response was that the material is brought out based on requests and they will only get attended when time allows (limited archivists employed at the center).

"Our sequencing protocol consumed just 10% of the library produced from the synthesized DNA  already leaving enough for multiple equivalent copies. Existing technologies or copying DNA are highly efficient, meaning that DNA is an excellent medium for the creation of copies of any archive for transportation, sharing or security. Overall, DNA-based storage has potential as a practical solution to the digital archiving problem and may become a cost-effective solution for rarely accessed archives."

Community Archiving in Digital Age: Pop-Up Archive & Historypin

My interests lie in oral history and cross-generational conversations, so one other concept that I can relate to in this class is are our readings on community archiving. I am sharing these two platforms for inspiration sake.
Pop-UP  Archive 
This was presented at the National Endowment for Digital Humanities and it’s a project from Berkley’s School of Information.

Historypin is a We Are What We Do project backed by Google. I attended a workshop at the offices of NY Council for Humanities and learned that New York Public Library is in collaboration with Historypin. However, the details are TBD.
My interest in Historypin started when working on a social media strategy project for Media Management program, which got me a contract at Google Maps later that year. It also inspired me to go out in the Silicon Valley to conduct interviews with locals as part of my PAR research project, so it’s an archive project I shamelessly promote and love to be involved with in the future.(Projects can be found here.)
I think one of the unique features of Historypin is actually their focus on communities to host channels of interest. The other cool feature is the way they enable the user to pick the decade of the content. It has the cascade of history, layer over layer effect. I can see that Google Glass will utilize Historypin in a huge way as a push to make their Augmented Reality technology at Google more popular.

This is a longer video titled Historypin: Libraries, Archives & Museums Sharing Content

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