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The best way to preserve digital content…

Here is an interesting article that examines the use of criminal digital forensic tools to discover and repair corrupted digital information in digital archives, but there is another story here as well. Although the title doesn’t tell you this, Fox actually looks at two alternatives for digital preservation: digital forensics and what he calls “the buddy system.”

Fox describes the buddy system this way: “[W]hen more than one system is responsible for maintaining the integrity of any given digital object. If each system in question has a copy of the object, and they are verifying the integrity of that object against the objects that their “peers” possess, there is a much higher probability when they agree that the integrity of the object is intact. This is a “digital buddy system” of sorts, because each peer helps the other peers in it’s network maintain the integrity of commonly held digital objects. This is the principle behind the LOCKSS electronic resource preservation system (LOCKSS, n.d.; Rosenthal and Reich, 2000), which is a peer-to-peer preservation system now in wide use, and developed and maintained by Standford University.”

He notes further:

Studies over the last decade have indicated that digital preservation is most successful when the information “is best preserved by replicating it at multiple archives run by autonomous organizations”…. These concepts have been in place for almost ten years, but it has only been in the last four-to-five years that libraries have attempted to preserve anything beyond e-journal content using P2P network systems. [emphasis added]


CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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