Sunday, January 27, 2008

Luciana Duranti: Preserving Authentic Electronic Art Over The Long-Term (pdf)

The InterPARES 2 Project

"For centuries, our presumption of authenticity has been premised on the presence or absence of visible formal elements and on an uninterrupted line of legitimate custody. The use of digital technology has not only reconfigured those formal elements, allowed for the bypassing of production controls, and made of physical custody an elusive concept, but, first and foremost, it has eliminated the original work, that is the first complete instantiation being communicated either across space (to persons other than the author) or time (saved for later access by the author or legitimate successors).

If electronic materials will ever be considered authentic as those on traditional media, the practices by which they are created, maintained, made accessible and used must be analyzed, and strategies and standards for their authentic preservation must be developed. This is the mission of InterPARES (International research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems), a research endeavor that aims to develop the theoretical and methodological knowledge essential to the permanent preservation of authentic materials generated and/or maintained electronically, and, on the basis of this knowledge, to formulate model policies, strategies and standards capable of ensuring that preservation.


Increasingly, however, organizations and individuals have been generating works of a dynamic, experiential, or interactive nature, which will need different, and perhaps work-type specific, authenticity requirements and selection and preservation strategies.


Clifford Lynch describes experiential digital objects as objects whose essence goes beyond the bits constituting them to incorporate the behavior of the rendering system, or at least the interaction between the object and the rendering system.

[...] it is necessary to develop an understanding of the new digital objects, not only in the later phases of their life cycle, but from the moment of their creation.

[...] We have to consider the possibility of substituting the characteristics of completeness, stability and fixity with the capacity of the system where the work resides to trace and preserve each change the digital object has undergone. And perhaps we may look at this new digital entity as existing in one of two modes, as an entity in becoming, when its process of creation is in course (even if such creation is ongoing), and as a fixed entity at any given time the work is viewed."


about the Interpares project:

InterPARES1 was initiated in 1999 and concluded in 2001. It focused on the development of theory and methods ensuring the preservation of the authenticity of records created and/or maintained in databases and document management systems in the course of administrative activities, and took the perspective of the preserver.

InterPARES2 was initiated in 2002 and concluded in 2006. In addition to dealing with issues of authenticity, it delved into the issues of reliability and accuracy during the entire lifecycle of records, from creation to permanent preservation. It focused on records produced in complex digital environments in the course of artistic, scientific and e-government activities.

InterPARES3 was initiated in in 2007 and will continue through 2012. The project builds upon the findings of InterPARES 1 and 2, as well as of other digital preservation projects worldwide. It will put theory into practice, working with small and medium-sized archives and archival/records units within organizations, and develop teaching modules for in-house training programs, continuing education, and academic curricula.

Their terminology database (including the glossary, ontology and dictionary):

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