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DigiCULT
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Info
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Staff there shared their experiences, `war
stories', and a few artist's tricks buying
up hard disks for spare parts, and tech-
niques of observation.The Symposium
itself is worthy of mention because its
forthcoming publication will bring togeth-
er some of the latest thinking on digital
preservation. Even those of us who had the
privilege of hearing the papers will be
rewarded by reading them (e.g. Ulrich
Lang's `Volatile Memory').
I
n mid-November ERPANET co-hosted
a workshop on Trusted Repositories
with the Accademia dei Lincei (Roma) in
its 16th century Palazzo Corsini.Talks by
Robert Kahn from the Corporation for
National Research Initiatives (CNRI)
(Virginia, USA) and Professor Tito Orlandi
opened the workshop. Materials from these
and other workshop presentations can be
found on the ERPANET Website (http://
www.erpanet.org).
A
few weeks before the workshop,
decades of work by Professor Tito
Orlandi, well known as an avid supporter
of the thoughtful use of ICT to facilitate
humanities scholarship, on the study of
Coptic Literature and Civilisation resulted
in the release of Corpus dei Manoscritti Copti
Letterari (CMCL).This online subscription
database provides resources on Coptic
Manuscripts and Literature, with full texts
(and translations into Italian), bibliographic
sources, and information on the Coptic
civilisation at large.
studies about data loss and recovery is a
challenge, as Luciano Scala, Director of the
Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico
delle Biblioteche Italiane e per le
Informazioni Bibliografiche, noted in his
Preface to the Ruggiero study. He report-
ed that, despite using contacts, engaging in
wide-ranging discussions with colleagues
and conducting interviews, `it was often
hard, if not impossible, to gather enough
information to create a comprehensive
record of the problem' of digital loss.
These case studies are essential if we are to
develop an understanding of the points of
risk to digital objects, and the costs and
possibilities of data rescue.
R
escue of digital materials has become
a major industry and DigiCULT.Info
will examine the topic in a future News-
letter. Some of the participants at the
excellent Canadian Conservation Institute
Symposium 2003 on Preservation of
Electronic Records: New Knowledge and
Decision-Making (in September in
Ottawa) were offered an illuminating visit
to Tunstall and Tunstall Data Recovery
(http://www.datarecoveryservices.com).
emergencies Six Case Studies', which
satisfied my curiosity.The system had ini-
tially been switched off even before the
exhibition, although it was switched back
on briefly to enable the show to be creat-
ed.While several of the case studies dis-
cussed by Ruggiero have been noted in
other published literature, the Database of
the Consorzio Neapolis (IBM and FAIT),
designed to enable the exploitation of
environmental and artistic resources in the
area around Mount Vesuvius, has not
received similar attention.The two-year
project, which began in 1987, to collect
and encode the data, engaged 110 staff and
cost some 36 billion Lira (or at the current
conversion rate 18,000,000 euros).
Ruggiero's report on the recovery of this
resource provides a window to challenges
involved in digital preservation and recov-
ery. It took some two years to recover the
database and cost roughly 200,000 euros.
The work `was made possible only due to
the availability of a mainframe system simi-
lar to the original one' and the accessibility
of oral history and guidance from partici-
pants in the original project (Ruggerio
(2003), p.30). Accumulating good case
Canadian National Archives
HA
TII (UofGlasgow),
Seam
us Ross
,
2003
Robert Kahn and Tito Orlandi, at Accademia
dei Lincei (Roma)
HA
TII (UofGlasgow),
Seam
us Ross
,
2003