[SIGCIS-Members] Institutions actively collecting historical programs/software for long-term preservation

Jessica Meyerson jeswes at gmail.com
Mon Apr 24 03:50:45 PDT 2017


Greetings Everyone!

Thank you all for your responses so far! This is an exciting thread - Thank
you, David!
To build on Melanie's response regarding discoverability, this is one of
the primary goals of the Software Preservation Network
<https://osf.io/a7uea/>, particularly our Metadata Working Group
<http://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/working-groups/metadatastandards/>,
which includes archivists, metadata coordinators, and information studies
researchers embedded in research library settings. We are collaborating
closely with the Software Heritage. <https://www.softwareheritage.org/> whose
efforts have thus far been focused on source code for open source software,
but is not limited to open source moving forward. SPN hosted a forum in
August 2016 and participated on a panel on software sustainability at iPRES
2016 that included representatives from UNESCO's PERSIST program as well.

In August 2016, Henry Lowood,*Curator, History of Science & Technology
Collections **Curator, Film & Media Collections for Stanford University
Libraries*, software preservation trailblazer and SPN advisor, shared an
extensive account of past software preservation efforts as well as
recommendations for cultural heritage practitioners/collecting repositories
<http://refractory.unimelb.edu.au/2016/08/30/henry-lowood/> that address a
spectrum of research use cases that loosely map on to David Bearman's
original listing of possible user groups (From SPN's lit review: *Limited
research interest in software at the time led Bearman to conclude that the
development of a software archives and the growth of a dedicated “user
community” would be co-determined (Bearman, 1987, p.41). Additionally,
Bearman describes several possible user groups, each with their own
implications for archival and curatorial work: 1) scholarly research on
distribution, legal protections, and the social norms of developer
communities; 2) researchers interested in causal explanations of why
certain applications succeeded or failed; 3) “internalist” historians of
science or intellectual history; and 4) “system designers” who can not
fully understand a system by merely examining its constituent parts
(Bearman, 1987, p.41-46)*.

In his conclusion, Henry looks ahead and says, "*It is unlikely that any
one institution can respond to every one of these use cases. Instead, the
more likely result is a network of participating repositories, each of
which will define priorities and allocate resources according to both their
specific institutional contexts and an informed understanding of the
capabilities of partner institutions." *This observation/conclusion (and
the acknowledgment that we are part of a ~30+ yr effort to address the
software-dependent nature of digital cultural heritage) is the premis on
which the Software Preservation Network was formed, and we invite the
readership/participants on this list to share their experiences, use cases,
suggestions, advice and ideas so that we can continue to move forward
together - building on past and current efforts, and reflecting the
needs/challenges of institutions/organizations charged with providing
long-term access to digital materials, and most importantly their
researchers/users.

Please do feel free to contact us with your thoughts and/or subscribe to
our newsletter to receive updates
<http://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/contact/>! We are *always
learning* and we are *always looking for collaborators*!
Sincerest thanks to all those that have enabled and continue to enable the
work that institutions in the Network are currently doing!

Check out the latest post by our Curation-Readiness Working Group
<http://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/working-groups/250-2/>, that
explores a spectrum of use cases:
http://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/exploring-curation-ready-software-use-cases/


Friendly Regards,
Jessica Meyerson
Digital Archivist - University of Texas at Austin

On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 2:26 AM, Melanie Swalwell <
melanie.swalwell at flinders.edu.au> wrote:

> Hi David,
>
>
>
> That’s a big question. Just “actively collecting”? What does that mean?
>
>
>
> I have tended to try to put together projects with institutions, which
> will see them collect software/born digital artefacts within a particular
> frame, but then they might not go on to do more collecting (or not til the
> next project). So the “Play It Again” game history and preservation project
> I ran saw several cultural institutions take 1980s microcomputer games, for
> instance, and I’m working to get a successor project up, as well as a media
> arts project at the moment, which will involve a consortia of cultural
> institutions. But I’m not sure that the institutions are necessarily
> “actively collecting”. I wish it were different, but that’s the way it is
> at the moment, here at least. I suspect it’s also the case in other
> jurisdictions?
>
>
>
> Funny thing is, it’s actually hard to know which cultural institutions
> have software in Australia, because you can’t search and browse for
> software in the union catalogue of libraries, for instance, because there’s
> no format type that fits (ie. it’s not a manuscript or a book or a map).
> Discoverability is thus a real problem. The exception is if you already
> know what you’re looking for, then a title search will reveal software
> holdings, often in some quite unexpected places. But it’s pretty well
> impossible to find anything that you don’t already know about.
>
>
>
> My collaborator and I wrote an article on this a few years ago:
> “Collecting and Conserving Code: Challenges and Strategies”,
> http://scan.net.au/scn/journal/vol10number2/Melanie-Swalwell.html
>
>
>
> As we detail in that paper, some Australian state libraries have legal
> deposit legislation which covers electronic publications, so lodgement is
> actually required by law, as is preservation in perpetuity. However, not
> all publishers are unaware of their responsibilities, so…
>
>
>
> Regards,
>
>
>
> Melanie
>
>
>
>
>
> --
>
> Assoc. Prof. Melanie Swalwell
>
> ARC Future Fellow
>
>
>
> Screen and Media,
>
> Flinders University
>
> GPO Box 2100
>
> Adelaide SA 5001
>
>
>
> Ph: +61 8 8201 2619 <+61%208%208201%202619>
>
> 278 Humanities Bldg
>
> www.flinders.edu.au
>
> http://www.flinders.edu.au/people/melanie.swalwell
>
> @melswal
>
>
>
> Fans and Videogames: Fandom, histories, archives
> <https://www.routledge.com/Fans-and-Videogames-Histories-Fandom-Archives/Swalwell-Ndalianis-Stuckey/p/book/9781138679672>
>
> Researching Creative Micro-computing in Australia
> <https://youtu.be/hR8-10qjoiI>
>
> Popular Memory Archive <http://playitagainproject.org/>
>
> Play It Again blog <http://blogs.flinders.edu.au/play-it-again/>
>
> Digital Heritage blog <http://blog.ourdigitalheritage.org/>
>
>
>
> CRICOS Provider: 00114A
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> *From:* Members [mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] *On Behalf Of *David
> C. Brock
> *Sent:* Thursday, 20 April 2017 1:14 AM
> *To:* members at SIGCIS.org
> *Subject:* [SIGCIS-Members] Institutions actively collecting historical
> programs/software for long-term preservation
>
>
>
> Dear List:
>
>
>
> I wanted to compile a list of institutions and organizations that are
> today actively collecting historical programs/software (including games and
> art objects qua software) for long term preservation.
>
>
>
> Can you help?
>
>
>
> Best wishes,
>
>
>
> David
>
> +++++++++++++++
> David C. Brock
> dcb at dcbrock.net
>
> Director
>
> Center for Software History
>
> Computer History Museum
>
> www.computerhistory.org
>
>
> 40 Russell Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
> Mobile: 413-522-3578 <(413)%20522-3578>
> Skype: dcbrock
> Twitter: @dcbrock
>
>
>
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