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

Melanie Swalwell melanie.swalwell at flinders.edu.au
Mon Apr 24 00:26:15 PDT 2017

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...



Assoc. Prof. Melanie Swalwell
ARC Future Fellow

Screen and Media,
Flinders University
GPO Box 2100
Adelaide SA 5001

Ph: +61 8 8201 2619
278 Humanities Bldg

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/>

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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 C. Brock
dcb at dcbrock.net<mailto:dcb at dcbrock.net>

Center for Software History
Computer History Museum

40 Russell Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
Mobile: 413-522-3578
Skype: dcbrock
Twitter: @dcbrock

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