Before the Metadata

Writing metadata that describes born digital content is a topic of much discussion in the digital preservation world, but before that metadata can be written a digital image file must be readied for ingest. That’s where Paul Neirink, Digital Resources Specialist at the Reuther Library comes in. On Saturday, February 25, 2017, Paul brought a box full of outdated data hardware to the NDSA chapter meeting to demonstrate disk imaging preservation techniques.

Watch the recording of Paul’s presentation here. Presentation begins at minute 4:30.

Floppy disks, CDs and other older data storage units are not preservation-quality formats and it’s important to extract the information contained on them quickly and without altering any of the creation data associated with it. Paul typically begins by researching the hardware used to create the source files such as an internal hard drive, zip disk drive, 3 ½ inch disk drive, etc. Using a variety of adapters, he links the drive to his computer and then opens a command-line tool such as ExifTool. Through trial and error, he manually structures output so an exact copy of the disk image is in a format ready to be ingested by a digital repository.

Here are two articles Paul referenced during his talk:

What Does It Take to Be a Well-rounded Digital Archivist?

Digital Archeology and Forensics

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About Lori Eaton

Writer / Editor / Copyeditor

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