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

David C. Brock dcb at dcbrock.net
Mon Apr 24 07:36:59 PDT 2017

Dear Melanie,

Thanks so much for that very helpful information. 

By “actively collecting” I guess I was trying to get at institutions that, as a matter of policy and practice, are today accessioning software into their collections with a mind toward their permanent preservation.

Best wishes,


> On Apr 24, 2017, at 12:26 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 <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
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> Researching Creative Micro-computing in Australia <https://youtu.be/hR8-10qjoiI>
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> From: Members [mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org <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 <mailto: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 <mailto:dcb at dcbrock.net>
> Director
> Center for Software History
> Computer History Museum
> www.computerhistory.org <http://www.computerhistory.org/>
> 40 Russell Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 
> Mobile: 413-522-3578 
> Skype: dcbrock 
> Twitter: @dcbrock

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