August 16, 2007
Rescuing GPO Digital Publications from Format Obsolescence
In the July/August 2007 issue of D-Lib Magazine, Gretchen Gano and Julie Linden describe a Yale Library data migration project as a means for analyzing and documenting aspects of a CD-ROM migration approach, but also as a launching pad for a community-wide consideration of a large-scale, distributed project to migrate digital legacy collections and ensure permanent public access to government information distributed on CD-ROMs. The authors write
Despite the software and hardware problems that [GPO] CD-ROMs pose, the main challenges of a large-scale CD-ROM "rescue" project are not primarily technological. Files from CD-ROMs can be systematically copied to redundant, stable server environments. Obsolete file formats can be migrated to non-proprietary formats for continued use of the data; unusual or obsolete software programs can be made available through web-based virtualization. Rather, the main challenges are to organize and fund a collaborative rescue project so that institutions can contribute to different tasks as they are able and willing; to establish a decision-making framework so that portions of the collection that are at highest risk can be addressed first, according to agreed-upon standards; and to ensure quality control of both "rescued" CD-ROM files and associated metadata.
Read more about it in Government Information in Legacy Formats: Scaling a Pilot Project to Enable Long-Term Access. [JH]
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