How can librarians protect the historical record, now that archives include digital images and audiovisual files in addition to physical photographs and manuscripts?
Cornell University Library is blazing the trail. A $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will allow the Library to begin developing a framework to ensure continued access to complex digital media objects, using the interactive born-digital artworks in the Library’s Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art as a test bed.
“Some of the digital artworks in Goldsen are designed for ephemeral experiences,” said Associate University Librarian Oya Rieger, the other principal investigator on the grant. “Reproduction of an artwork’s digital files does not always ensure preservation of its most important cultural content. It is essential that we anticipate the needs of future researchers and acknowledge the core experiences that need to be captured to preserve these artifacts.”
Using the Goldsen Archive as a test bed, the Library will develop an archival strategy based on understanding what users need to be able to use digital artworks. Eventually, it will create generalizable new media preservation and access practices that are applicable for different institutional types and sizes.
The preservation model to be developed will apply not merely to new media artworks but to other rich digital media environments. Beyond the Goldsen Archive, the project will inform the digital preservation services at the Library and help explain how rich media objects are used in learning, teaching, research and creative expression by scholars and students.
Read the Complete Announcement
See Also: Grant Details (via NEH)