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Announcing the BitCurator Access Project

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant Supports Improving Access to Born-Digital Collections for Collecting Institutions

Release date: October 21, 2014

CHAPEL HILL - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science (SILS) has received a grant for $750,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a project that focuses on simplifying and improving access to the contents of disk images in born-digital collections for use by libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs). 

The BitCurator Access project will develop open-source software that supports the provision of access to disk images through three exploratory approaches: (1) building tools to support web-based services, (2) enabling the export of file systems and associated metadata, (3) and the use of emulation environments. Also closely associated with these access goals is redaction. BitCurator Access will develop tools to redact files, file system metadata, and targeted bitstreams within disks or directories.

BitCurator Access builds on previous work of the BitCurator project, a three-year, collaborative effort between SILS and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland. The project developed, packaged and documented open-source digital forensics tools to allow LAMs to advance many core digital curation goals, including: creation of authentic copies of data on disks; reflection of the original order of materials; establishment of more trustworthy chains of custody; discovery and exposure of associated contextual information; and identification of sensitive information that should be filtered, redacted or masked in appropriate ways.

"Many LAMs within the US and internationally are using these tools and methods to generate disk images, extract metadata to support ongoing preservation tasks, and store the resulting data in dedicated servers or shared network spaces,” said Dr. Christopher (Cal) Lee, principal investigator of the BitCurator Access project. “However, there is currently very limited support for provision of access to the contents of the disk images or associated metadata.”

Kam Woods, Research Scientist at SILS, will be the Co-Principle Investigator and Technical Lead for the BitCurator Access project.  Sunitha Misra, a recent graduate of SILS’ MSIS program, will serve as software developer. Alexandra Chassanoff, a SILS doctoral candidate, will serve as the Project Manager. An advisory group of external partners with significant relevant experience will provide guidance and expertise.

For more information about the project, please visit the main BitCurator web site at: bitcurator.net and follow @bitcurator on Twitter.



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