Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Metadata is nine-tenths of possession.

Friday, March 18th, 2016

In a sea of digital information, it is no longer about who owns the hardware. The physical location of the server is not what defines possession. Possession is restricted to those with the appropriate metadata (e.g., credentials, permissions), which grants them access; and, the ability to derive value is constrained to those who have metadata that will help them find and use the content.

What is the chemistry of digital preservation?

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

When we develop preservation strategies for paper-based materials an essential consideration is the underlying chemistry of the physical materials themselves. Paper is an organic compound, made of cellulose […]

Pixels, Lines and Bits: An AV Preservation Primer

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

On Thursday April 16, 2015, Kathryn Gronsbell spoke at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in Brooklyn. The event, “PIXELS, LINES, AND BITS: An A/V Preservation […]

Don’t Blame Poor Records Management On Overpreservation

Friday, March 7th, 2014

There’s been a lot of good discussion lately about the meaning of the word archive(s) and its use by those outside of the profession. Much of this discourse is focused on the relation of the issue to the profession, questioning what impact the broad (and what some might think as improper) applicatio

Three Views Of Digital Preservation

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

I worked on a large inventory project with a group of media production units in the Department of Defense a few years ago. We were at one of the storage facilities and a shipment of albums that had been on a base in Spain came in that day. As we were opening one of the couch-sized boxes to get an es

Materialism, Morality and Media Culture

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013


Film buffs know what this means. As in One Word. As in selling out one’s soul to live the life of a corporate middleman. As in a lifetime of creating cheap, soulless, synthetic replicas formed from deadly chemicals.

Film (and other media) buffs also ought to know what this means on a

Are The Aesthetics Of Decay And The Aesthetics Of Preservation Compatible?

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

If decay is a beautiful thing, why are we working so hard to preserve all this archival material?

A facetious statement, perhaps, but an exaggeration that underscores the fact that aesthetics guide many of the decisions we make as archivists and preservationists. We may claim it is for research,

The Present Analog Dark Age

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The great thing about predicting doom and gloom is that the end times are always imminent, but never quite here. The natural state of a threat is to loom. If it actually ever happens — hey, you’re prescient! If not, well, there’s still the possibility…

The death of film has been a productive a

5 Tips For What Not To Do When Creating A File Naming Structure

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The human desire to classify and name is a highly personal and a greatly prized act. Naming the files we create is no different, though the number of files and tools used for managing them place a great need on consistent structure and application of file naming guidelines. What to do is then very s

It’s time to start considering digital materials as legacy formats

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I know we all were very excited about the 50th anniversary of the first use of analog broadcast videotape six years ago…If by ‘we’ I mean myself, 7 friends, and that guy, Roy, whom no one has seen in person for the past 23 years.

Though still recovering from the celebratory parties we had back