COGConnected: Flashpoint Project Archives 36,000 Flash Games Offline. “Flashpoint is a colossal offline archive of every Flash game the team can scoop up, preserved and protected from ultimate destruction. Flash is vanishing from the internet forever, you see. Adobe is officially killing the system on December 31st, 2020. That means BlueMaxima has less than a year to save every game they can from the slowly sinking ship.”
UKAuthority: National Archives aims to create digital preservation ‘ninjas’. “National Archives has revealed a plan to create a cohort of ‘ninjas’ in the field of digital preservation. It is an element of its newly published strategy for building digital capacity in its sector, Plugged In, Powered Up, which focuses on engagement, access, preservation and the development of digital skills.”
Genealogy’s Star: The Ultimate Digital Preservation Guide, Part Ten: The Importance of Image Quality. “When faced with a pile of old photos, the genealogist must make some important decisions. Of course, there is always the challenge of identifying the people and places represented in the photos, but sometimes we are faced with just really poor quality photos. Here is one example.”
EGM: The Uncertain Future of Video Game History. “In April 2015, P.T. became the most high-profile casualty of digital distribution in recent memory. Released in August 2014 as a PlayStation 4 exclusive ‘playable teaser’ for Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s Silent Hills, P.T. became a phenomenon in its own right. Critics showered the brief horror experience with accolades, and YouTubers churned out hundreds of reaction videos. Then, in the wake of a highly public falling out between Kojima and Konami, the publisher cancelled Silent Hills and eventually removed P.T. from the PlayStation Store. Players who didn’t already have a copy downloaded to their consoles lost access to the title forever.” Fascinating deep dive.
Genealogy’s Star: The Ultimate Digital Preservation Guide, Part Five — What is worth preserving?. “Digital preservation has two main challenges that are not shared with paper books: device obsolescence and file format obsolescence. Unlike a book sitting on a shelf, a file on a storage media such as a hard drive can become unreadable merely because of the passage of time. This occurs as the devices used to store the information become inaccessible (think floppy disks) or because the operating systems and programs change over very short periods of time (think of an old computer program you can no longer use on any present-day computer). To preserve the information in a digital file, it must be periodically migrated to newer hardware, programs, operating systems, and file formats as those change over time.”
Genealogy’s Star: The Ultimate Digital Preservation Guide, Part Four — What is digital preservation?. “Before going much further with this series on digital preservation, it is important to understand the concept of digitization and what is meant by digital preservation.”
Vice: Preservationists Are Racing to Save Ouya’s Games Before They Disappear. “Android-based gaming console Ouya launched on Kickstarter with a bang in 2012, crowdfunding more than $8 million and raising much more in venture capital before the software was acquired by hardware manufacturer Razer in 2015. Despite the promising start, Ouya wasn’t long for this world. Now, Ouya is shutting down for good and a group of game preservationists and Ouya fans are racing to preserve the console’s games before they’re potentially lost forever.
Linux Insider: SpaceChain, Arch Aim to Archive Human Knowledge in Space. “SpaceChain on Monday announced that it has entered a partnership with the Arch Mission Foundation to use open source technology to launch an ambitious project involving the storage of large data sets in spacecraft and on other planets. Arch Mission will load large quantities of data onto SpaceChain’s satellite vehicles with the eventual aim of storing data on other planets.” This is from a couple of weeks ago but I had not seen it before.
RIT Reporter: Digital Preservation & Corporate Owned Platforms. “When it comes to social media, the vast majority of our personal thoughts and records are only preserved by some company’s far-away servers. For a fairly long time now, we have collectively tied our identities to spaces owned and operated by third parties. Dr. Tamar Carroll of RIT’s Digital Humanities and Social Science program brought up how Facebook embodies this trend.”
Texas Advanced Computing center: Preservation For The (Digital) Ages. “When Deborah Beck was preparing her book, Speech Presentation in Homeric Epic, her publisher suggested she make the database she had started in 2008 — a searchable catalogue of features from every speech in the Homeric poems — available to the public as a web application and companion resource. Since the application went live in 2013, more than 5,000 researchers have used it to parse the thousands of speeches found in the Iliad and the Odyssey and to explore different connections from those Beck investigated in her book…. However, as new web and database capabilities became available, Beck was finding it challenging to update the application, which was developed using the technologies from the 2000s.”
UNESCO: Agreement on software preservation signed at UNESCO. “UNESCO and the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) today signed an agreement at the Organization’s headquarters to contribute to the preservation of the technological and scientific knowledge contained in software. This includes promoting universal access to software source code. The agreement was signed in the presence of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, and INRIA’s Chief Executive Officer, Antoine Petit.”
Live Science: ‘Doomsday’ Library Joins Seed Vault in Arctic Norway. “Known as the Arctic World Archive, the vault will act as a library of sorts, a storage option for governments and scientific institutions, as well as companies and private individuals, to keep their data safe. Though the vault’s security is high-tech, the medium for the new data archive is analog — photosensitive film. (Whereas digital data is stored as discrete 1s and 0s, analog data refers to a continuous recording of physical signals, like a record player’s needle translating bumps and dips into music.)”
This was announced late February, but I just found out about it. From the US Naval War College: Navy higher education libraries announce digital archives and preservation collaborative. “U.S. Naval War College (NWC) Library has announced initial implementation of TRIREME digital repository and preservation system. The name TRIREME comes from the ancient Mediterranean maritime vessels with three banks of oars. It stands as a metaphor for the three institutions of higher education involved in the initial pilot project: the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; and NWC. TRIREME is the result of a two-year collaboration between Navy higher education libraries and a leading software developer in digital preservation technology and was launched worldwide today. It is open to the public.” Didn’t seem like a lot was here yet and it’s really tough to browse.
It’s not all just documents. From Kotaku: Why Some Video Games Are In Danger of Disappearing Forever. “Years of neglect are eroding gaming history. Cartridges rot in garages, companies horde demos that they will never release, and obscure titles fade into the ether. Some games may even be lost forever.”
Hey! How 25-year-old Prodigy screenshots got rescued. “When I decided to write about the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign and how it was waged, in part, on online services such as CompuServe and Prodigy, I had a basic problem: I wasn’t sure if I could show what I was talking about. The services I was referencing are long gone, and screenshots that depict them are not exactly plentiful. But in a remarkable bit of good fortune, I happened to tell tech historian and Fast Company contributor Benj Edwards about my conundrum.”