DPC

Ubiquity and the Floppy Disk: Challenges with Obsolete Carriers

Kevin Molloy

Kevin Molloy

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Kevin Molloy is Manuscripts Collection Manger at State Library Victoria in Melbourne, Australia


Floppy disks have a remarkable technological provenance that dates from the late 1960s. Developing through many iterations, the standard 3½ inch disk, produced from 1981, had become largely ubiquitous by the 1990s as the go-to format for business, personal storage and transfer systems. Use of the 3½ floppy lasted until the mid-2000s, and, as a storage device, is found in many physical collections of unpublished papers acquired by State Library Victoria’s Manuscripts Team. Examples from quite diverse collections, include the papers of writers Sonya Hartnett and Peter Carey, the business records of Coles Myer and Bryant and May, the papers of journalist Christopher Bantick, politician Joan Kirner, chefs such as Mietta O’Donnell, and collections like the Miss Australia Company Records. 

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Digital preservation & digital asset management in the real world no mere matter of magic

Lee-Anne Raymond

Lee-Anne Raymond

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Lee-Anne Raymond is Senior Coordinator, MV Images (DAMS) at Museums Victoria in Melbourne, Australia


When Mary Poppins measures herself using her magical tape measure it reads, “Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.” (Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers, 1934)

In the real world realm of Digital Preservation we can strive but will struggle to approximate such perfection without the assistance of the right software and engineering principles, as an intervening Poppins, in order to underwrite the magic. To perform digital preservation actions at scale competently and efficiently and in a repeatable way with trusted results, practically perfect, we need systems as well as systematic approaches. As laudable as our efforts are to do so using manual techniques underpinned by strict rules based standards, they do not and will not meet the challenge that the digital realm presents us.

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You put WHAT in the repository??? State Library of Queensland’s project to audit the repository for obsolete physical carriers

Serena Coates

Serena Coates

Last updated on 6 November 2019

Serena Coates is Digital Preservation Coordinator at State Library of Queensland in Australia


At State Library of Queensland (like at many other institutions around the world) when we started acquiring digital content on floppy discs, CDs, and DVDs, we didn’t know what to do with them.  So, what was the wisdom of the day?  “Put it in a box, and store it in the repository until there is a time when we work out what to do with it.”  For State Library, that time is now!

With an increasing maturity of skills and knowledge in the area of digital preservation, and the imminent implementation of a digital preservation system (Rosetta), in 2016 we felt we were ready to tackle the issue of obsolete carriers that had been squirrelled away in our repositories for anywhere up to 30 years.  And so, we embarked on an audit of physical carriers in our repositories.

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A Couple of Views from New Zealand

Andrea Goethals

Andrea Goethals

Last updated on 25 October 2019

Andrea Goethals is Digital Preservation Manager | Kaiwhakahaere Matapopore Matihiko, at the National Library of New Zealand | Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa


At the National Library of New Zealand, quite a few of us play a role in preserving the nation’s digital heritage. If you were to ask each of us what digital materials are most at risk in New Zealand you would hear a variety of different opinions, depending on where we sit in the Library. Among other things you would hear about at-risk audio-visual collections on obsolete physical media, born-digital archival and special collections material across New Zealand, and social media. It’s true that these are very real challenges, but we are chipping away at many of them through a variety of initiatives at the Library and in collaboration with others. 

So what challenges are we finding especially hard to address? In this post, Steve Knight and I describe some of the key challenges we face. 

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Digital Preservation community raises awareness of At-risk Digital Materials on World Digital Preservation Day

Added on 6 November 2019

WDPD2019 English Portrait RGB7th November marks World Digital Preservation Day 2019 (WDPD2019)

With the theme 'At-Risk Digital Materials' the digital preservation community has come together to celebrate their work: the collections they have preserved, the access they have maintained and the understanding they have fostered by preserving digital materials.

Pervasive, changing and ubiquitous, digital technologies are a defining feature of our age. Digital materials are a core commodity for industry, commerce and government. They are fundamental for research, the law and medicine. The creative industries, cultural heritage and the media depend on reliable access to digital materials while families and friends extend and sustain their relationships through digital interactions. 

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Is it World Digital Preservation Day Yet?

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 6 November 2019

Is it World Digital Preservation Day yet?  Yes it is!  Here are some ways you can tell:

  • Has the sun come up over the National Library of New Zealand on the first Thursday in November? 

  • Is this the first post of a digital preservation themed blog-a-thon on the DPC website?

  • Will there be a new edition of the BitList of Digitally Endangered Species before the end of the day? 

  • Are there an abundance of stickers in more than a dozen languages, and versions of the swooshie logo available to download in even more?

  • Will there be lectures and seminars and workshops and webinars about digital preservation in dozens of countries and perhaps hundreds of venues? 

  • Will there be digital preservation themed cake to share, and biscuits and baking?

  • Will there be singing and videos to match? 

  • Will the fun continue till midnight somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean in about 36 hours from now?

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