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Friday, May 30 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
(Electronic Media Session) Creating a Preservation and Access Framework for Digital Art Objects

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In February of 2013, the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, part of Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, received a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop Preservation and Access Frameworks for the complex digital media art objects in its holdings.

The test collection includes more than 300 interactive born-digital artworks created for CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and web distribution, many of which date back to the early 1990s. Though vitally important to understanding the development of media art and aesthetics over the past two decades, these materials are at serious risk of degradation or obsolescence, and unreadable without legacy computers and software.

The goal of our project is to create a scalable preservation workflow to ensure the best feasible access to these materials for decades to come, and also contribute to the development of coherent best practices in the area of preserving complex media collections.

In May of 2014, we will have completed our first year of the project. Our presentation will provide an overview of our project’s aims, strategies, and desired outcomes, update on progress so far, and describe some recurring and idiosyncratic technical challenges we’ve encountered along the way. Some additional topics we would be particularly interested to share and discuss with the AIC Electronic Media Group include:

• The development of digital collections hand in hand with archival respositories and complex-media delivery systems at a large-scale institutional level

• Establishing assessment criteria for emulation strategies, especially in research archives

• Determining “best feasible” access—that is to say, developing an access plan that acknowledges the real limitations of staff time and technical capacity and aims to maximize the breadth of conservation outcomes.


Madeleine Casad

Curator for Digital Scholarship, Cornell University Library
Curator for Digital Scholarship and Associate Curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University Library.

avatar for Desiree Alexander

Desiree Alexander

AV Collections Coordinator, Cornell University

Dianne Dietrich

Cornell University

Friday May 30, 2014 11:30am - 12:00pm PDT
Seacliff C-D