Preserving Complex Digital Objects

Jun 2014 | 432pp

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Preserving Complex Digital Objects

Edited by Janet Delve and David Anderson

This ground-breaking edited collection explores the challenges of preserving complex digital objects such as simulations, visualisations, digital art and video games.

Drawing on the outputs of the JISC-funded Preservation of Complex Objects (POCOS) symposia, enhanced with specialist pathfinder solutions, this book covers topics such as the legal and technical challenges of preservation, curation and authority, and digital archaeology. 
Written by international experts from a broad background of library, collecting institutions, information and computer science, and digital preservation backgrounds, this collection showcases the state of the art of the discipline and brings together stakeholder perspectives from across the preservation community. The collection is structured around six parts:
  1. Why and what to preserve: creativity vs preservation
  2. The memory institution: data archival perspectives
  3. Digital preservation approaches, practices and tools
  4. Case studies
  5. A legal perspective
  6. Pathfinder conclusions. 
Readership: Academics and students on digital preservation, digital humanities and information management courses, and those working in preservation and collecting for memory institutions will find this a valuable read. It will also be of particular interest to computer scientists, artists, games and emulation communities, archaeologists and digital forensic scientists.

Foreword - Adam Farquhar
Preface - Neil Grindley
Introduction - Janet Delve and David Anderson
1. Standing on the shoulders of heavily armed giants – why history matters for game development - Dan Pinchbeck 
2. Archaeology versus anthropology: what can truly be preserved? - Richard A. Bartle 
3. Make or break? Concerning the value of redundancy as a creative strategy - Simon Biggs 
4. Between code and space: the challenges of preserving complex digital creativity in contemporary arts practice - Michael Takeo Magruder 
5. Preservation of digital objects at the Archaeology Data Service - Jenny Mitcham 
6. Preserving games for museum collections and public display: the National Videogame Archive - Tom Woolley, James Newman and Iain Simons 
7. Bridging the gap in digital art preservation: interdisciplinary reflections on authenticity, longevity and potential collaborations - Perla Innocenti 
8. Laying a trail of breadcrumbs – preparing the path for preservation - Drew Baker and David Anderson 
Part 3.1: A good place to start: software preservation
9. Digital preservation and curation: the danger of overlooking software - Neil Chue Hong 
10. How do I know that I have preserved software? - Brian Matthews, Arif Shaon and Esther Conway 
Part 3.2: Tools and techniques
11. Digital preservation strategies for visualizations and simulations - Janet Delve, Hugh Denard and William Kilbride 
12. The ISDA tools: preserving 3D digital content - Kenton McHenry, Rob Kooper, Luigi Marini and Michael Ondrejcek 
Part 3.3: Metadata, paradata and documentation
13. Ecologies of research and performance: preservation challenges in the London Charter - Hugh Denard 
14. A tangled web: metadata and problems in game preservation - Jerome McDonough 
15. Metadata for preserving computing environments - Angela Dappert 
16. Preserving games environments via TOTEM, KEEP and Bletchley Park - Janet Delve, Dan Pinchbeck and Winfried Bergmeyer 
17. Documenting the context of software art works through social theory: towards a vocabulary for context classification - Leo Konstantelos 
18. The Villa of Oplontis: a ‘born-digital’ project - John R. Clarke 
19. Preservation of complex cultural heritage objects – a practical Implementation - Daniel Pletinckx
20. In homage of change - Vicky Isley and Paul Smith
21. Archiving software and content in visual film effects: an insider’s perspective - Paul Charisse
22. Preserving interaction - Daisy Abbott


23. The impact of European copyright legislation on digital preservation activity: lessons learned from legal studies commissioned by the KEEP project - David Anderson 
24. Issues of information security applicable to the preservation of digital objects - Andrew Ball and Clive Billenness


25. Pathfinder conclusions - Janet Delve and David Anderson.

"Ensuring long term access and usability of complex digital objects is of critical importance to the future of nearly every area of arts, culture, the humanities and the sciences. With that noted, to date there is a surprisingly small amount of basic and applied research and scholarship that explicitly engages with issues in this area. To this end, the 25 essays in Preserving Complex Digital Objects are invaluable as documentation and presentation work on this topic."
- Journal of Academic Librarianship

"This book is an essential resource for anyone engaged in digital preservation activities. It becomes increasingly difficult to focus purely on the preservation of simple digital objects, and we must engage with the complex because developing ICT capabilities provides us with the means to incorporate more and more complexity in the artefacts and genres we create and use."
- Online Information Review

"This collection is a valuable contribution to the digital preservation literature...it is sufficiently practical to be of use to practitioners, particularly those working in memory institutions and faced with issues of digital preservation of complex digital objects."
- Elucidate

"...any information professionals working through the present-day digital revolution, as well as academics and students on information courses will find this book to be a valuable textbook and tool. It provides a much-needed pathway for anyone wanting to learn more about digital preservation. More importantly, in addition to being extremely educational, this book is actually very interesting to read."
- Alexandria

"...a landmark summary that is adequately scary but hopeful and constructive at the same time."
- Archival Issues

"...a well written and a valuable resource for the preservation field."
- Against the Grain

Janet Delve is co-leader of the interdisciplinary Future Proof Computing Group in the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth. She is a member of the Digital Preservation Coalition Technology Watch Editorial Board. 

David Anderson is co-leader of the interdisciplinary Future Proof Computing Group at the University of Portsmouth. He is the Director of CiTECH (the Centre for Cultural and Industrial Technologies Research) in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.
With contributions from:
Daisy Abbott; Drew Baker; Andrew Ball; Professor Richard A. Bartle; Winfried Bergmeyer; Simon Biggs; Clive Billenness; Vicky Isley; Paul Smith; Paul Charisse; Neil Chue Hong; Professor John R. Clarke; Esther Conway; Dr Angela Dappert; Dr Janet Delve; Dr Hugh Denard; Dr Adam Farquhar; Neil Grindley; Dr Perla Innocenti; Dr William Kilbride; Dr Leo Konstantelos; Michael Takeo Magruder; Dr Brian Matthews; Dr Jerome McDonough; Dr Kenton McHenry; Dr Dan Pinchbeck; Daniel Pletinckx; Dr Arif Shaon; Iain Simons; Paul Wheatley; Tom Wooley.

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