Advertisement

Archival Science

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 51–69 | Cite as

Digital transformations and the archival nature of surrogates

  • Paul Conway
Original Paper

Abstract

Large-scale digitization is generating extraordinary collections of visual and textual surrogates, potentially endowed with transcendent long-term cultural and research values. Understanding the nature of digital surrogacy is a substantial intellectual opportunity for archival science and the digital humanities, because of the increasing independence of surrogate collections from their archival sources. The paper presents an argument that one of the most significant requirements for the long-term access to collections of digital surrogates is to treat digital surrogates as archival records that embody traces of their fluid lifecycles and therefore are worthy of management and preservation as archives. It advances a theory of the archival nature of surrogacy founded on longstanding notions of archival quality, the traces of their source and the conditions of their creation, and the functional “work of the archive.” The paper presents evidence supporting a “secondary provenance” derived from re-digitization, re-ingestion of multiple versions, and de facto replacement of the original sources. The design of the underlying research that motivates the paper and summary findings are reported separately. The research has been supported generously by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Keywords

Large-scale digitization Preservation repositories Archival quality Surrogacy Digitization 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The ideas in this article were presented initially at the 5th Conference on Archival Databases about Archival Information in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 4, 2013. A substantially revised version was delivered as the 2013 Hilary Jenkinson Memorial Lecture at University College London, September 25, 2013. The Institute for Museum and Library Services provided support for the underlying research represented in this article.

References

  1. Art of Google Books (2013) http://theartofgooglebooks.tumblr.com/. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  2. Bia A, Muñoz R, Gómez J (2010) DiCoMo: the digitization cost model. Int J Digit Libr 11(2):141–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bloomberg (2012) Permira agrees to buy ancestry com. 22 Oct 2012. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-22/permira-agrees-to-buy-ancestry-com-for-about-1-6-billion.html. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  4. Boon M (2010) In praise of copying. Harvard University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brothman B (2002) Afterglow: conceptions of record and evidence in archival discourse. Arch Sci 2:337–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brynjolfsson E (1993) The productivity paradox of information technology. Commun ACM 36(12):66–77. doi: 10.1145/163298.163309 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caplan P (2009) Understanding PREMIS. Library of Congress Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Washington, DC http://www.loc.gov/standards/premis/understanding-premis.pdf. Accessed 20 Mar 2013
  8. Cobbe FP, Atkinson B (1904) Life of Frances Power Cobbe as told by herself. Swan Sonnenschein & Co, London. Original from University of Michigan. HathiTrust handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015005338747?urlappend=%3Bseq=10
  9. Conway P (2010) Modes of seeing: digitized photographic archives and the experienced user. Am Arch 73(2):425–462Google Scholar
  10. Conway P (2011) Archival quality and long-term preservation: a research framework for validating the usefulness of digital surrogates. Arch Sci 11(3):293–309. doi: 10.1007/s10502-011-9155-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conway P (2013) Preserving imperfection: assessing the incidence of digitization error in HathiTrust. Preserv Digit Technol Cult 42 (1): 17–30. http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/99522
  12. Cook T (2001) Fashionable nonsense or professional rebirth: postmodernism and the practice of archives. Archivaria 51:14–35Google Scholar
  13. Delano J (1941) A prisoner dancing while another plays the guitar at a prison camp, Greene County, Georgia. Library of Congress, U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black & White Negatives http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c29073
  14. Drucker J (2013) Performative materiality and theoretical approaches to interface. Digital Humanit Q 7(1). http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/7/1/000143/000143.html. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  15. Duguid P (2007) Inheritance and loss? A brief survey of Google Books. First Monday 12(8). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/1972/1847. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  16. Eastwood T (2012) A contested realm: the nature of archives and the orientation of archival science. In: Eastwood T, MacNeil H (eds) Currents of archival thinking. Libraries Unlimited, Santa Barbara, pp 3–21Google Scholar
  17. Ellis R, Walne P (eds) (2010) Selected writings of Sir Hilary Jenkinson. Society of American Archivists, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  18. Ernst W (2013) Digital memory and the archive. Univ of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  19. FADGI (2010) Technical guidelines for digitizing cultural heritage materials. Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative, Still Image Working Group. http://www.digitizationguidelines.gov/guidelines/digitize-technical.html. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  20. FSA/OWA (n.d.a) Digitizing the collection. Library of Congress, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information black-and-white negatives. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsa/digitizing.html Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  21. FSA/OWA (n.d.b) Background and scope. Library of Congress, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information black-and-white negatives. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsa/background.html. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  22. FSA/OWA (n.d.c) Selected bibliography and related resources. Library of Congress, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information black-and-white negatives. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsa/bibliography.html. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  23. Hirtle PB (2002) The impact of digitization on special collections in libraries. Libr Cult 37(1):42–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hoskins A (2009) Digital network memory. In: Erll A, Rigney A (eds) Mediation, remediation, and the dynamics of cultural memory. de Gruyter, Berlin, pp 91–106Google Scholar
  25. Jacobs JA, Jacobs JR (2013) The digital-surrogate seal of approval: a consumer-oriented standard. D-Lib Mag 19(3/4). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march13/jacobs/03jacobs.html. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  26. Kenney AR, Rieger O (2000) Moving theory into practice: digital imaging for libraries and archives. Cornell University, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  27. Ketelaar E (2001) Tacit narratives: the meanings of archives. Arch Sci 1:143–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ketelaar E (2012) Cultivating archives: meanings and identities. Arch Sci 12(1):19–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kirschenbaum M (2003) The word as image in an age of digital reproduction. In: Hocks M, Kendrick M (eds) Eloquent images: word and image in the age of new media. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 137–156Google Scholar
  30. Leetaru K (2008) Mass book digitization: the deeper story of Google Books and the Open Content Alliance, First Monday 13(10), 6 October 2008 http://www.firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2101/2037. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  31. Levy DM (1994) Fixed or fluid? Document stability and new media. ECHT ‘94 proceedings of the 1994 ACM European conference on hypermedia technology, pp 24–31Google Scholar
  32. McEathron S (2011) An assessment of image quality in geology works from the HathiTrust Digital Library. Proc Geosci Inform Soc 41 http://hdl.handle.net/1808/8301
  33. Mitchell WJT (1990) Representation. In: Lentricchia F, McLaughlin T (eds) Critical terms for literary study. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 11–22Google Scholar
  34. Monks-Leeson E (2011) Archives on the internet: representing contexts and provenance from repository to website. Am Arch 74(1):38–57Google Scholar
  35. Nesmith T (2002) Seeing archives: postmodernism and the changing intellectual place of archives. Am Arch 65(1):24–41Google Scholar
  36. Nordland LP (2004) The concept of ‘Secondary Provenance’: reinterpreting Ac ko mok ki’s map as evolving text. Archivaria 58:147–159Google Scholar
  37. Oakland JS (2008) Statistical process control, 6th edn. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  38. Raymond R (1999) The cathedral and the bazaar. O’Reilly Media, SebastopolGoogle Scholar
  39. Ross S (2007) Digital preservation, archival science and methodological foundations for digital libraries. Keynote address at the 11th European conference on digital libraries (ECDL), 17 Sep 2007, Budapest, p 13Google Scholar
  40. Ruchatz J (2008) The photograph as externalization and trace. In: Erll A, Nunning A (eds) Cultural memory studies: an international and interdisciplinary handbook. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, pp 367–378Google Scholar
  41. Scruton R (1981) Photography and representation. Crit Inq 7(3):577–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Smith A (1999) Why digitize? Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  43. Taussig M (1993) Mimesis and alterity: a particular history of the senses. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. Taylor H (1987) Transformation in the archives: technological adjustment or paradigm shift? Archivaria 25:12–28Google Scholar
  45. Terras M (2011) Artefacts and errors: acknowledging issues of representation in the digital imaging of ancient texts. In: Fischer F, Fritze C, Vogeler, G (eds) Kodikologie und paläographie im digitalen zeitalter 2/Codicology and paleography in the digital age 2. Books on Demand, Norderstedt, Germany, pp 43–61. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/171362/. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  46. Thomassen T (2001) A first introduction to archival science. Arch Sci 1(2):373–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tibbo H (2003) On the nature and importance of archiving in the digital age. Adv Comp 57:1–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. University of Michigan (2001) Assessing the costs of conversion: making of America IV: the American voice 1850–1876. University of Michigan Library, Digital Library Production Service, Ann Arbor, MI http://www.lib.umich.edu/files/services/dlps/moa4_costs.pdf. Accessed 20 Mar 2014
  49. Van Denburg MW (1895) A homœopathic materia medica on a new and original plan. Pub. by the author, Fort Edward, NY. HathiTrust handle. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015020206036?urlappend=%3Bseq=380
  50. Waters DJ, Garrett J (1996) Preserving digital information: report of the task force on archiving digital information. Commission on Preservation and Access, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  51. Yeo G (2007) Concepts of record (1): evidence, information, and persistent representations. Am Arch 70(2):315–343Google Scholar
  52. Yeo G (2008) Concepts of record (2): prototypes and boundary objects. Am Arch 71(1):118–143Google Scholar
  53. Yeo G (2009) Custodial history, provenance, and the description of personal records. Libr Cult Rec 44:59–60Google Scholar
  54. York J (2008) This library never forgets: preservation, cooperation, and the making of the HathiTrust Digital Library. In: Proceedings of archiving 2008, 24–27 June 2008, Society for Imaging Science & Technology, Bern, Switzerland, pp 5–10Google Scholar
  55. York J (2010) Building a future by preserving our past: the preservation infrastructure of the HathiTrust Digital Library. 76th IFLA general congress and assembly, 10–15 August 2010, Gothenburg, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  56. York J (2012) A preservation infrastructure built to last: preservation, community, and HathiTrust. In: Proceedings of UNESCO memory of the world: digitization and preservation, 24–26 September 2012, Vancouver, BC, CanadaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Michigan School of InformationAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations