Yannis Tzitzikas is Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Computer Science Department of the University of Crete and Affiliated Researcher in the Information Systems Lab at FORTH-ICS, Greece and Yannis Marketakis works as an R&D Engineer in the Information System Laboratory at FORTH-ICS.

They are authors of Cinderella's Stick: A Fairytale for Digital Preservation

cinderella stick

Once upon a time, a life changing opportunity is offered to Daphne (our modern-day Cinderella). An outstanding but lowly undergraduate student at the University of Crete, she applies to become CEO of a worldwide computer company. But time is short, and in her hurry to complete her task, Daphne leaves her USB stick and digital files behind…

Ok, so it might not be the version of Cinderella that you recognize – but it has all the component parts. The unlikely rise from rags to riches, a lost item and a frantic search for its owner, with all of the trials and tribulations one might expect to encounter when accessing content on an old and overworked USB stick (or shoe!)

As well as telling a good old story, we wanted to employ an unconventional approach to describing the main issues generated by the obsolescence of the digital material and its surroundings, whilst laying out methods and actions for digital preservation.

The role of the fairy tale is twofold: to capture the readers’ interest as well as offering concrete examples on which the relevant reflection and the technical discussion will unfold in the chapters.

Cinderella’s Stick: A Fairy Tale for Digital Preservation aims to explain the technical details of digital preservation at an introductory level, providing references to the main approaches (or solutions) currently available for tackling related problems, and is rounded out by questions and exercises appropriate for computer engineers and scientists. In addition, the book's website https://www.cinderella-stick.com/, which we lovingly maintain, presents additional material: the contents of Cinderella's “real USB stick” no less, as well as links to various tools and updates.

The book uses a modular structure, with each chapter consisting of two parts: the episode and the technical background. The episodes narrate the story in chronological order, exactly as in the fairy-tale.

In addition to the story itself, each episode relates to one or more digital preservation problems, which are discussed in the technical background section of the chapter. To reveal a more general and abstract formulation of these problems, the notion of pattern is used. Each pattern has a name, a summary of the problem, a narrative describing an attempt to solve the problem, an explanation of what could have been done to avoid or alleviate this problem, some lessons learned, and lastly, links to related patterns discussed in other chapters.

And does Daphne live happily ever after? We’ll leave you to read the book to find out…


Tzitzikas, Yannis; Marketakis, Yannis

Cinderella's Stick - A Fairy Tale for Digital Preservation 2018, XXI, 249p. 97 b/w illus., 13 illus. in color

Hardcover, ISBN 978-3-319-98487-2

e-Book, ISBN 978-3-319-98488-9

Keywords: Digital libraries and archives – Digital curation – Digital preservation – Information storage systems – Data formats

Read more detailed information: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319984872

Online version available under: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-98488-9

Website with extra material: https://www.cinderella-stick.com/

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