Document Security and Access to Memory

For Preservation Week here at MIT Libraries, the Curation and Preservation Services department hosted several activities.  One of these was a series of three presentations on document security. Michael Halsall, Senior Network and Information Security Analyst at MIT talked of document security in the future, I talked about document security as it relates to access now and into the future, and Jana Dambrogio, MIT Libraries’ Thomas F. Peterson Conservator, talked about document security in the past in the form of letter locking.

Kari R. Smith. Presentation during Preservation Week, 2014 at MIT Libraries.

Kari R. Smith. Presentation during Preservation Week, 2014 at MIT Libraries.

My talk, Benign Neglect No More: How Document Security Affects Access to Memory, was a chance to talk about three central ideas.  The first is document security and how there are several layers of what might be considered to be document security.  The second is the concept of access and the considerations of access to what and by whom.  The third is the concept of memory as information that is stored in digital files and also as the memory of the existence of digital files, storage areas, passwords, etc.

Watch the video of the presentation here [MIT TechTV]:
Kari R. Smith “Benign Neglect No More: How Document Security Affects Access to Memory”. 2014 Preservation Week. MIT Libraries.

Slide from Presentation, How Document Security Affects Access to Memory, Kari R. Smith.

Slide from Presentation, How Document Security Affects Access to Memory, Kari R. Smith.

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We’re Hiring! MIT Library Fellow for Digital Archives

We’re excited to announce our call for applications for a two-year position at the MIT Libraries for a Digital Archives Fellow.

Reporting to the Digital Archivist, the activities of this position will expand and build upon already established foundations of our digital archives program. Work will provide opportunities to collaborate with Curation and Preservation Services; the Office of Scholarly Publishing, Copyright and Licensing; Information Technology and Discovery Services; Digital Library Application Development; Collections Strategy and Management; as well as the Digital Sustainability Lab.

Potential activities include:

  •  Workflow analysis, implementation, and documentation related to digital archives management,building on existing work and addressing gaps;
  • Resource acquisition/ingest and issue resolution around file authentication, access and intellectual property rights restrictions, etc.
  • Assisting with analysis, understanding, and implementation of tools for processing and managing digital archives (ex. ArchivesSpace, Curator’s WorkBench (UNC), BitCurator, Archivematica) and the tools’ interactions with other software and systems.

Read the full position announcement at:

Full consideration given to applicants who apply by May 12, 2014.

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Bitcurator – Forensics for Collecting Institutions part 1

We’ve been busy the past few months.  Take the blog silence for the quiet of busy beavers rather than the absence of activity!

As noted in the workflow diagrams, one of the tools that we are assessing both in terms of functionality and how it might fit into our workflows is BitCurator.  The BitCurator Team has lot of information on their project and wiki pages that you should read to keep current on this Mellon funded project.

BC sticker

BitCurator Project sticker


photo of the BitCurator in a Box. Includes two write-blockers, cables and cords, and BitCurator program on a USB drive.

BitCurator Project is an open-source digital forensics environment in which collecting institutions can create and analyze forensic disk images of digital content, whether from a file server or from media.  Read this page on the BitCurator website for more specifics on the projects and the tools incorporated into the environment.

We’ve been testing versions of the BitCurator tools since version 3.0.  Happily, the project and team have been doing great work with adding tools, functionality, GUI, and reporting capabilities.  BitCurator 0.7.4 was released on February 2, 2014 and is the current version we are assessing.

As an activity of the Digital Sustainability Lab in the Libraries, there is input into the assessment from both the Institute Archives and Special Collections staff and from the Digital Curation and Preservation staff in the MIT Libraries.

The BitCurator team is fantastic and are very responsive to feedback and questions regarding how to use and implement BitCurator in your digital curation workflow.  For instance, at the recent DigCCurr Institute, CurateGear presentations it came up that there was a BitCurator in a Box that can be borrowed for formal assessment purposes.  We asked and after the most current release at that time we were mailed the box.  Along with a formal testing plan and required questions/ answers to return to the BitCurator Team, was a jumpdrive with the BitCurator install files and two write-blockers with accompanying cables and cords. It is all packed into a Pelican case for shock absorption and a cool factor.

The next blog post on this topic will frame our assessment and the issues and considerations that we are addressing.


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