Digital Forensics: The Academic Library and Beyond

April 27 - 28, 2017
Norris University Center
Northwestern University 
Evanston, IL

The BitCurator Users Forum brings together representatives from libraries, archives, museums, and related information professions engaged in (or considering) digital forensics work to acquire, better understand, and make available born-digital materials. The 2017 forum will be expanded to two days providing even more opportunities for community members and users to engage and learn from each other. It will balance discussion of theory and practice of digital forensics and related digital analysis workflows with hands-on activities for users at all levels of experience with the BitCurator environment, digital forensics methods in general, and other tools used in digital analysis and curation. 

Friday, April 28 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
Spinning Plates and Moving Parts: Adventures in Workflow and Documentation Management

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Managing even small collections of born-digital materials is a complex task including multiple processes lending themselves to asynchronous work and potentially touching multiple staff members over a period of days. Such complexities require robust documentation and well-planned workflows. In this session, speakers will discuss approaches to such work, ranging from case studies, to documentation platforms, and guidelines for non-digital specialists.

More Floppies, Less Process: the Digital Media Log

This talk will discuss the RAC's Digital Media Log, a lightweight web app that integrates with ArchivesSpace to efficiently inventory digital media items and log digital forensics and preservation activities. The application is intended to track inventorying and preservation workflows in an automated digital forensics environment and harnesses ArchivesSpace's API to record contextual information. Instead of acting as a canonical source of data about our disk imaging, the Digital Media Log is intended to export preservation information in a way that can be combined with metadata created by digital forensics tools and stored in preservation systems. In addition to an overview of the application's features, this talk will focus on the principles and workflows behind the application's creation. Automating processes and integrating systems in this way means that we can get through our disk imaging backlog much more quickly, but it also makes it easier for archivists who don't have "digital" in their titles to participate in digital forensics activities.
Bonnie Gordon, Rockefeller Archive Center

Inbetweeners: Developing Guidelines and Documentation to Help Those Who Help the Donors
Often, those who are doing the nitty gritty digital archiving and those who are working with donors are two separate entities. In these cases, providing strong guidelines, policies, and documentation to help archivists and curators in obtaining and managing born digital content is key to both the successful completion of projects as well as the ongoing relationship management between collections and donors. This panel seeks to explore how better communication between internal units can lead to successful relationships with donors. Panelists from Indiana University will explore several perspectives, including that of an archivist who works directly with donors, of a technician who creates digital archiving workflows, and of the librarian who sits in between. The panel will also include a differing viewpoint from University of Virginia, presented by a librarian who does a bit of everything. Some of the main points of discussion will include the impact of donor agreements and institutional policies on outreach and education efforts, the establishment of workflows and decision-making criteria to leverage non-specialized support on the technical end, and the overall impact of relationship management on born digital transfer projects. 
Mary Mellon, Indiana University
Luke Menzies, Indiana University
Lauren Work, University of Virginia 

Lots of Old Onions
Way back in the day, before there was a widely acknowledged set of skills and tools known as Digital Forensics, the boots-on-the ground needed to figure out ways to deal with information from a crazy number of incompatible word processors, minicomputers, and mainframes. The work was typically called “media conversion”. Today, we like to call dealing with arcane media and file types “data rescue”. Many of the lessons learned in those days have been incorporated (and improved) into great initiatives such as the Bit Curator. But we believe that—even now—some of the old insights, along with talk of some interesting projects. For example… We thought of the tasks as something like peeling back the layers of an onion:
  1. Media Compatibility (we’ll show several tape and diskette types)
  2. Age and Storage Conditions (e.g. tape cleaning/baking)
  3. Recording Method (density, interleaving, checksums, etc.) If no funding for 4-7, save those bits with disk and tape images. 
  4. Operating System/File System (IBM, DEC, Wang, Honeywell, etc. etc.)
  5. Backup, Exchange, or Archiving SW (several choices within each #4)
  6. Application File Structure (sequential, indexed, chained, etc.)
  7. Application File Encoding (database, wp, reports, images, A/V) 
Chris Muller, George Blood Audio/Video/Film/Data
George Blood, George Blood Audio/Video/Film/Data

All Together Now: Introducing the KryoFlux User Guide
The KryoFlux, a floppy disk controller card developed by the Software Preservation Society, has become the de facto standard for many digital archives for its ability to safely and effectively capture data from aging floppy disks. Although the KryoFlux is an extremely powerful tool for digital archivists, scant documentation and an unapproachable user forum have hampered wider adoption amongst archives. To address this gap and to encourage more robust use of this hardware, archivists using the KryoFlux at Duke, Emory, UCLA, the University of Texas, and Yale have developed a comprehensive KryoFlux user guide designed specifically for archival contexts and which we hope to make freely available in the coming months. The guide includes:  
  • An explanation as to why an archives might choose to use the Kryoflux; -An explanation of floppy disk formatting;
  • Step-by-step instructions on installation and use (both CLI and GUI); 
  • Troubleshooting tips and tricks;
  • A list of additional resources. 
We have now completed a first draft of our user guide and believe the BitCurator Users Forum offers an excellent opportunity to share our work with active practitioners working regularly with born-digital materials. Our session would explain the impetus behind this project, give an overview of the guide and its content, and aim to solicit feedback and questions from the audience. From our perspective, this opportunity to hear from digital forensic practitioners and potential users of the guide would be incredibly valuable as we prepare it for broad circulation.
Dorothy Waugh, Emory University 
Shira Peltzman, UCLA Library
Jennifer Allen, University of Texas Austin School of Information

avatar for George Blood

George Blood

Owner, George Blood Audio/Video/Film
George Blood has worked in classical music production since receiving his bachelor's degree in Music Theory from the University of Chicago in 1983. While recording live concerts (from student recitals to opera and major symphony orchestras) since 1982, he documented over 4,000 live... Read More →
avatar for Bonnie Gordon

Bonnie Gordon

Digital Archivist, Rockefeller Archive Center
Bonnie Gordon is a Digital Archivist on the Digital Programs team at the Rockefeller Archive Center, where she focuses on digital preservation, born digital records, and training around technology.

Mary Mellon

Assistant Archivist, Indiana University Archives
avatar for Luke Menzies

Luke Menzies

Digital Preservation Technician, Indiana University
Luke Menzies is currently a dual MLS/MA student at Indiana University. His fields of concentration are digital humanities, digital preservation, and Central Asian history. He also holds MA degrees in Slavic Linguistics and Islamic Studies.
avatar for Chris Muller

Chris Muller

Data Rescue Manager, George Blood Audio/Video/Film/Data
Figuring out and converting legacy media and arcane file formats has been our focus (and enjoyment) for nearly forty years. We are now part of the great George Blood organization. For now, see www.mullermedia.com for our born-digital data-focused abilities. Eventually that will be... Read More →
avatar for Shira Peltzman

Shira Peltzman

Digital Archivist, UCLA Library
Shira is the Digital Archivist for UCLA Library Special Collections where she leads the development of a preservation program for born-digital archival material.

Dorothy Waugh

Digital Archivist, Emory University
Dorothy Waugh is Digital Archivist at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University. She received her MLS from Indiana University and her MA in English Literature from the Ohio State University.

Lauren Work

Digital Preservation Librarian, University of Virginia
Lauren Work is the Digital Preservation Librarian at the University of Virginia, where she is responsible for the implementation of preservation strategy and systems for university digital resources.

Friday April 28, 2017 10:45am - 12:00pm
WildCat Room, Norris University Center, Northwestern University 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston IL 60208

Attendees (23)