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Digital preservation



Rock fractures

Faculty retire, projects end, and the outputs of important research languish on forgotten hard drives and servers. It happens all the time. But retiring Professors Atilla Aydin and David Pollard wanted to be sure it didn't happen to them. For 25 years they co-directed the Stanford Rock Fracture Project (RFP) in the Geology and Environmental Sciences Department, but they were concerned about the long-term availability of the research outputs of that project once they retired. 

Until they found out about the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR).

A close of open reel tape machine heads

There are countless challenges in preserving obsolete media from breadth of formats to lack of documentation at the time of creation.  With the history of recorded sound now spanning over one hundred years wide range of technologies utilized in this span, challenges abound for any individual working to capture the range of media in need of preservation.  To accomplish this feat constant engagement is required to further understand the media, the way media is degrading, and best practices for preserving historic recordings that range from cylinders to digital multi-track recording sessions. 

World Railroads, 1:10 million (2012), Natural Earth

You can now find and access Natural Earth geospatial data directly from EarthWorks.

The Royal Library, National Library of Denmark and Copenhagen University Library

For the month of September, Peter Chan - our digital archivist - is visiting the Royal Library, the National Library of Denmark and Copenhagen to share tools and processes for managing born-digital materials in collections. While hosted by the Digital Preservation Department, he will also spend time with Digital Humanities team, the Digital Forensics team and finally the Game Preservation team (based on Peter's work with born-digital workflows, ePADD-email archiving software project and the NIST-Cabrinety project at the library as well as the GAMECIP project with UCSC).

The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) recently deposited two significant collections into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), the Terry Smythe AMICA Collection and the Stanford Soundtrack Collection.

Researchers at Stanford are doing a lot of innovative and intriguing work. Their efforts are often highlighted in the Stanford Report, which provides readers with a brief compilation of the latest Stanford News via email each weekday. When those of us at Stanford Libraries who work on digital preservation read these articles, we immediately wonder what these researchers are doing to preserve all that wonderful research data.

Never ones to rest on our laurels, Stanford Libraries staff have been reaching out to these researchers and recommending that they preserve the data generated from these studies -- and sometimes submitted to journals as supplementary data files -- in the Stanford Digital Repository. We would hate to see all that innovative and intriguing work lost to the ravages of time!

This project is a spin-off from the ongoing GAMECIP (Game Metadata and Citation Project) funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  We are planning to spin off and expand our work on controlled platform vocabularies with additional research and photography, then publish a definitive terminology and ontology for computer game platforms in a manner that will be useful for libraries, museums, collectors and scholars. We are beginning with the most used set as an initial set.

The two core components of the project are (1) review and photography of hardware in Stanford’s Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection in the History of Microcomputing, in order to complete our assessment and provide visual aids in the published terminology guide; and (2) collation, editing and design of platform and media description sheets that will be made available online and, eventually, be available for publication in a print format.  

It only makes sense that if you were making solar cells or computer chips that you would choose the best materials for those tasks. It's a no-brainer, right? The problem is that the best materials might be very expensive to use. 

Such has been the case with gallium arsenide, but this may be changing.

Bruce Clemens and Garrett Hayes have developed a new way of making chips from gallium arsenide that brings down the cost considerably. They created a video that describes a new manufacturing process, and they have preserved that video in the Stanford Digital Repository for you to download and watch!