Monthly Archives: February 2009

Xena – Digital Preservation Software

Developed by the National Archives of Australia. Has anyone seen this? Used it?

“Version 4.2.1 released, 12 January, 2009

Xena is free and open source software developed by the National Archives of Australia to aid in the long term preservation of digital records. Xena is an acronym meaning ‘Xml Electronic Normalising for Archives’.

Xena is written in Java and is therefore cross-platform, running on Linux, Windows and OS X.

Xena software aids digital preservation by performing two important tasks:

  • Detecting the file formats of digital objects
  • Converting digital objects into open formats for preservation”

I have yet to discover any software that successfully performs migration activities, and even normalization actions on ingest seem to be a little sketchy, so this excites me a lot.

If anyone has any knowledge of, experience with, or any more information about this, do please share!


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Another article on KEEP

KEEP being the European emulator project,  Keeping Emulation Environments Portable

From Attempt made to save digital information for future

Interesting: “The KEEP project goes beyond a modular emulator in that it is being called “universal” and “the world’s first general purpose” emulator. It carries a price tag of $5.2 million, contributed by the European Union.”

$5.2 million?? Yow.

I’m feeling a little frustrated though, because all I can find are news story after news story, and no solid spec info. Apparently, Dan Pinchbeck “and team” are AIMING at developing this thing, so possibly there just isn’t much out there yet and if anything, we’ll just have to ask THEM what their plans are. Or wait.

Here’s the news page from the University of Portsmouth, too, if you’re interested.

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DigCCurr Professional Institute Registration NOW OPEN

I have the great opportunity to be participating in the organization of the DigCCurr Professional Institute: Curation Practices for the Digital Object Lifecycle.

Check out the institute page HERE.

The institute consists of one five-day session in June 2009 and a two-day follow-up session in January 2010. Each day of the June session will include lectures, discussion and a hands-on “lab” component. A course pack and a private, online discussion space will be provided to supplement learning and application of the material. An opening reception, break time snacks and drinks, and a dinner on Thursday will also be included.

Institute instructors are:

  • From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Carolyn Hank, Dr. Cal Lee, Dr. Richard Marciano, Dr. Helen Tibbo. Assisted by Heather Bowden.
  • Dr. Nancy McGovern, from the University of Michigan.
  • Dr. Seamus Ross, from the University of Toronto.
  • Dr. Manfred Thaler, from the University of Cologne.

Topics of the institute include:


  • Digital curation program development
  • LAB – DRAMBORA and/or PLATTER in action


  • Strategies for engaging data communities
  • Characterizing, analyzing and evaluating the producer information environment
  • Submission and transfer scenarios – push and pull (illustrative examples from DICE group projects)
  • Defining submission agreements and policies
  • LAB – Assessing File Format Robustness
  • Importance of infrastructure independence


  • Overview of the digital preservation problem
  • Managing in response to technological change
  • Characterization of digital objects
  • LAB – Creating Ingest rules in iRODS
  • From rules to trust – forms of evidence that a repository is doing the right things


  • Access and use considerations
  • Access and user interface examples from DICE
  • How and why to conduct research on digital collection needs
  • LAB – Analyzing server logs and developing strategies based on what you find
  • Returning to first principles – core professional principles that should drive digital curation


  • Overview and characterization of existing tools
  • LAB – Evaluating set of software options to support a given digital curation workflow
  • Formulating your six-month action plan – task for each individual, with instructors available to provide guidance

As you can see, it’s a content rich institute. We will all be learning a LOT. What is different about this institute is that we will be inviting all of the participants back in January 2010, so we can all discuss how the principles we learned in the first week were effectively and/or ineffectively applied in the real world.

I admit my bias when I say I think it’s well worth participating in this if you are a practitioner in the field of digital archives, repositories, libraries, curation, etc. As this field is developing, it is very important that we are able to get together and solidify how and why we are going to tackle the challenges that we are facing.

I hope to see you there!!

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More links

Video Paradiso: how an Italian town rescued a priceless film collection
This is just a neat story that shows how what a community cares about can affect the longevity of an archive.

David Rosenthal on format specifications
Good stuff that I need to read again.

Discussion summary on format specifications
from Chris Rusbridge’s  digital curation blog

Image Fortress Launches Online Archive of World’s Space Exploration Imagery
Neat. They claim to provide organizations with a “fully  automated, online digital archiving services that ensure the secure, long-term preservation and integrity of electronic documents and still and video imagery.” I am deeply curious to know how they accomplish this.

German lovers – aged six and five – try to elope to Africa
This snuck into my delicious archives. Adorable.

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New love to longtermdata blog

After surviving my first semester as a PhD student, I think I just might be able to devote a little more time to the longtermdata blog. I’ve added some of my favorite blogs to the blogroll and am going through the painful process of finding a suitable theme. Bear with me on the theme thing.. it’s rough out there.

In the past month or so I have started to collect some good links and stories which are all somehow related to long term digital preservation. Here’s a good chunk of them:

A Tool to Verify Digital Records, Even as Technology Shifts
This is mostly about research happening at the University of Washington, but Stewart Brand is quoted at the end of the article about the Format Exchange, a project which I have been dabbling in.

Digital Preservation Challenge
DPE’s latest digital preservation challenge. A great great great idea. I encourage anyone to take it on.

Got Data?
If you have access to a subscription to ACM, check this out. “Tools for surviving a data deluge to ensure your data will be there when you need it.”

ExLibris Group Releases Digital Preservation System

Kevin Kelly’s ‘movage’ idea infiltrates the digital curation community. Hoo-ray!

Kevin Kelly on Movage
Yes, yes, and yes.

That is probably more than enough to keep you all busy. I’ll be bringing more of the old and more new stuff to you in the very near future.

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Link of the Week : Another video game emulator being developed in the UK

Note the MAME love in the comments.

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