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Storage Media - Access

Q. How do I provide access to information I've acquired from storage media?

Most often, the fruit of your digital curation efforts is providing access to the content you have worked so hard to collect and preserve.  There are many different methods and tools you can use to do this and many considerations you must take into account in deciding how you will approach it.

Take action

  • Determine who you would like to have access to your content
  • Assess tools for providing access to your content
  • Implement a system for providing access to your content

Explore tools


  • Cornell University Library. "Balancing Access Issues."  Chap. 5 in Digital Preservation Management Tutorial: Implementing Short-term Strategies for Long-term Problems, 2003-2007.
    Provides a brief overview of the concerns of security and ease of access along with an exercise and some suggested resources.
  • Woods, Kam and Geoffrey Brown. "Creating Virtual CD-ROM Collections." International Journal of Digital Curation 4, no. 2 (2009): 184-198.
    "Over the past 20 years, more than 100,000 CD-ROM titles have been published including thousands of collections of government documents and data. CD-ROMs present preservation challenges at the bit level and in ensuring usability of the preserved artifact. We present techniques we have developed to archive and support user access to a collection of approximately 2,900 CD-ROMs published under the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) by the United States Government Printing Office (GPO). The project provides web-based access to CD-ROM contents using both migration and emulation and supports remote execution of the raw CD-ROM images. Our project incorporates off-the-shelf, primarily open-source software. The raw data and (METS) metadata are made available through AFS, a standard distributed file system, to encourage sharing among libraries."
  • Woods, Kam, and Geoffrey Brown. "From Imaging to Access - Effective Preservation of Legacy Removable Media." In Archiving 2009: Preservation Strategies and Imaging Technologies for Cultural Heritage Institutions and Memory Organizations: Final Program and Proceedings, 213-18. Springfield, VA: Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 2009.
    We describe how existing media collections can be virtualized through digital copies that are accessible via ordinary workstations. In the model presented, bit-identical images of the original media are served from a distributed file system to provide convenient access on local or remote workstations. Our approach incorporates mature open source libraries to provide high-quality, low-cost image extraction, file format identification, metadata creation, and web-driven access; we include specific examples of custom scripting designed to enhance usability.
  • Woods, Kam and Geoffrey Brown. “Migration Performance for Legacy Data Access.” International Journal of Digital Curation 3, no. 2 (2008): 74-88.
    "We present performance data relating to the use of migration in a system we are creating to provide web access to heterogeneous document collections in legacy formats. Our goal is to enable sustained access to collections such as these when faced with increasing obsolescence of the necessary supporting applications and operating systems. Our system allows searching and browsing of the original files within their original contexts utilizing binary images of the original media. The system uses static and dynamic file migration to enhance collection browsing, and emulation to support both the use of legacy programs to access data and long-term preservation of the migration software. While we provide an overview of the architectural issues in building such a system, the focus of this paper is an in-depth analysis of file migration using data gathered from testing our software on 1,885 CD-ROMs and DVDs. These media are among the thousands of collections of social and scientific data distributed by the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) on legacy media (CD-ROM, DVD, floppy disk) under the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) over the past 20 years."

Last updated on 08/26/13, 9:21 pm by callee


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