Digitized centuries-old catalog of traditional Japanese candies

Wagashi are traditional Japanese confections. Archivists have digitized a lovely multivolume illustrated catalog of the sweet treats, many of which still look the same as they did hundreds of years ago when the art form flourished in the Edo period. Read the rest

The Anonymous Project curates strange and mundane vintage slides

The Anonymous Project buys batches of old amateur slides, usually with with little or no provenance, then scans the most interesting ones for a long-running art project. Read the rest

Archivist in a Backpack project empowers local efforts to preserve history

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is using a grant to create kits for novice archivists to use in underserved communities. Dubbed Archivist in a Backpack, the kits actually range in size and scope, from backpacks loaded with recording equipment and guides to rolling suitcases with flatbed scanners. Read the rest

Help wanted: Archivist for the Prince museum at Paisley Park

Prince's Paisley Park, now a museum, is seeking an archives supervisor to "actively work in the care, catalog, storage and preservation of all artifacts and archival materials; the care, cleaning, and monitoring of all exhibits." According to the job requirements, "Some knowledge of Prince is helpful." From the job listing at the American Alliance of Museums site:

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Actively work in the care, catalog, storage and preservation of all artifacts and archival materials; the care, cleaning, and monitoring of all exhibits. Maintain and Update the archival database system. Monitor the trafficking of archive inventory. Assist the appropriate staff in having access to the archives collection as required. Travel/act as a courier of artifacts to locations where artifacts are to be displayed including the setting up and taking down of exhibits in these locations. Execute, maintain, and provide accurate conditioning reports for all items being moved from storage for exhibition. Ensure that the collections manual, preservation plans and archives emergency plan are observed. Locate, retrieve, and prepare artifacts for display/loans. Ensure the integrity of the collection in maintained at all times. Oversea all cleaning of exhibit spaces. Work with outside vendors to schedule monthly, quarterly and annual cleaning. Assist with Archives long term planning, conservation goals and preservation needs. Photograph and or scan artifacts when needed. Assist with exhibition installs. Maintain displayed artifacts in proper environment, eliminate risk to artifacts. Assist Director of Archives with coordinating activities involving the maintenance, preservation and mansion upkeep. Ensure the integrity of the exhibitions are maintained at all times. Read the rest

Websites archive vintage cassettes

At Vintage Cassettes, "you will find the beatiful pictures of sealed compact cassettes."

Cassettes from 1970-1990 are covered the most. Collecting vintage cassettes is a great hobby and brings all good memories back. Cassettes are organized by brands and then the years they were produced. We concentrate on the most important brands. This site try to cover three markets: US, Europe and Japan. We also added the History of Compact Cassettes located to the right.

When I was a kid I wondered if METAL meant that it was specially made for taping, like, Megadeth.

The companion site (with better images) would be The Tape Deck, which posts pictures of the cassettes themselves.

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A "digital rosetta stone" for translating obsolete computer files

It's not for the public ("accessible in the Yale library"), but researchers are working on a "universal translator" for old computer files that might otherwise be lost to obsolescence. Jessica Leigh Hester, at Atlas Obscura:

When one CCA visitor wanted to take a look at a CD-ROM-based “multimedia website” produced in conjunction with a 1996 exhibition of work by the architect Benjamin Nicholson, Walsh needed to wind back the clock. He tracked down an old license for Windows NT and installed Netscape Navigator and an old version of Adobe Reader. This all enabled decades-old functionality on a two-year-old HP tower.

This strategy works, but it has drawbacks. “These environments are time-intensive to create, will only run on a local computer, and they typically require a lot of technical know-how to set up and use,” Walsh says. Ad hoc emulation is not for the novice or the busy.

Researchers at Yale are working to solve this problem by creating a kind of digital Rosetta Stone, a universal translator, through an emulation infrastructure that will live online. “A few clicks in your web browser will allow users to open files containing data that would otherwise be lost or corrupted,” said Cochrane, who is now the library’s digital preservation manager. “You’re removing the physical element of it,” says Seth Anderson, the library’s software preservation manager. “It’s a virtual computer running on a server, so it’s not tethered to a desktop.”

Image: Euan Cochrane/CC by 2.0 Read the rest

A huge trove of vintage movie posters from the University of Texas's Ransom Center archive

The University of Texas's Ransom Center (previously) has posted a gorgeous selection of digitized movie posters from its Movie Poster Collection, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Read the rest

Print of "lost" britcom discovered in Nigerian basement and restored with X-rays and laser-cutters

In the early days of TV, it was routine to tape over the recording medium after the initial air-date, which means that no video record exists of many of the pioneering moments in television. Read the rest

A deep dive into the race to preserve our digital heritage

Science Friday's beautiful "File Not Found" series looks at the thorny questions of digital preservation: finding surviving copies of data, preserving the media it is recorded upon, finding working equipment to read that media, finding working software to decode the information once it's read, clearing the rights to archive it, and maintaining safe, long term archives -- all while being mindful of privacy and other equities. Read the rest

Verizon is finally killing Compuserve Forums

Compuserve's sprawling, paleolithic forums were acquired along with Compuserve itself by AOL in 1998, and their fossil remains were augmented, year after year, decade after decade, by die-hard users who continued to participate there. Read the rest

RIP Stephen Parr, Oddball Films' eccentric archivist

For connoisseurs of rare film, few experiences could top Oddball Films' meticulously curated one-time-only screenings from their extensive rare film collection. This short documentary looks at founder Stephen Parr, who died October 24. Read the rest

Internet Archive to ignore robots.txt directives

Robots (or spiders, or crawlers) are little computer programs that search engines use to scan and index websites. Robots.txt is a little file placed on webservers to tell search engines what they should and shouldn't index. The Internet Archive isn't a search engine, but has historically obeyed exclusion requests from robots.txt files. But it's changing its mind, because robots.txt is almost always crafted with search engines in mind and rarely reflects the intentions of domain owners when it comes to archiving.

Over time we have observed that the robots.txt files that are geared toward search engine crawlers do not necessarily serve our archival purposes. Internet Archive’s goal is to create complete “snapshots” of web pages, including the duplicate content and the large versions of files. We have also seen an upsurge of the use of robots.txt files to remove entire domains from search engines when they transition from a live web site into a parked domain, which has historically also removed the entire domain from view in the Wayback Machine. In other words, a site goes out of business and then the parked domain is “blocked” from search engines and no one can look at the history of that site in the Wayback Machine anymore. We receive inquiries and complaints on these “disappeared” sites almost daily.

A few months ago we stopped referring to robots.txt files on U.S. government and military web sites for both crawling and displaying web pages (though we respond to removal requests sent to info@archive.org). As we have moved towards broader access it has not caused problems, which we take as a good sign.

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Internet Archive: "DRM for the Web is a Bad Idea"

Brewster Kahle, who invented the first two search engines and went on to found and run the Internet Archive has published an open letter describing the problems that the W3C's move to standardize DRM for the web without protecting otherwise legal acts, like archiving, will hurt the open web. Read the rest

UC Berkeley nuked 20,000 Creative Commons lectures, but they're not going away

A ruling about a DC university held that posting course videos to the open web without subtitling them violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (while keeping them private to students did not) (I know: weird), and this prompted UC Berkeley to announce the impending removal of 20,000 open courseware videos from Youtube. Read the rest

Software Heritage: Creating a safe haven for software

Software Heritage is an initiative that has made preserving software its main mission. Why is this important? Consider, if you will, the case of Gary Kildall's video game...

How likely is a future without paper?

Today we travel to a fully digital world, a world where paper is a thing of the past.

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In this episode we talk about how likely it is that we might get rid of paper (not very) and what might happen to our reading habits, memories, and environment if we do.

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

Incredible archive of 49 millions artworks, artifacts, books, videos, and sounds from across Europe

Josh Jones of Open Culture says, "Of all the archives I’ve surveyed, used in my own research, and presented to Open Culture readers, none has seemed to me vaster than Europeana Collections, a portal of '48,796,394 artworks, artefacts, books, videos and sounds from across Europe,' sourced from well over 100 institutions such as The European Library, Europhoto, the National Library of Finland, University College Dublin, Museo Galileo, and many, many more, including contributions from the public at large."

Image: Museu Nacional D'Art De Catalunya CC BY-NC-ND Read the rest

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