Digital Forensics

Stanford University Libraries is acquiring an increasing amount of digital archival material / handheld media. This principally comprises magnetic and optical disks and tapes containing digital files produced both via historical computing platforms on legacy media and technology stacks, as well as via contemporary applications and file formats on modern media. While the proportion of digital content to other materials from the last third of the 20th century is relatively small, it includes unique and irreplaceable intellectual, cultural and scientific materials from the dawn of the information age. Without near-term action, these are the materials at greatest risk of loss.

SUL's new Digital Forensics Lab is being built to preserve and provide access to these at risk materials. The new lab will consist of two forensic workstations with the ability to read a wide range of digital media such as floppy discs, CDs/DVDs, hard drives, computer tapes and most consumer types of flash memory. One of these workstations will be housed in SUL's Department of Special Collections where the vast majority of the born digital collections are housed. The other forensic workstation will be portable to facilitate the remote capture of born digital materials anywhere in the world. Special Collections staff will be trained in the forensic capture of born digital materials for preservation in Stanford's Digital Repository. These materials will then be made available for scholarly research.

For further information on SUL's digital forensics initatives please contact