Jeff Ubois, who founded and chaired the Personal Digital Archiving conferences held at the Internet Archive in 2010, 2011, and 2012, will be speaking on Thursday, April 12, at 4 pm in Room 126 LIS (501 E. Daniel, Champaign). Currently a program officer with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jeff previously worked for Fujitsu Labs in Sunnyvale, California, the Bassetti Foundation in Milano, Italy, and the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision and other organizations engaged in mass digitization of cultural materials. Prior to these affiliations, he was a staff research associate at the University of California, Berkeley, and part of the Preserving Digital Public Television Project based at Thirteen/WNET and funded by the Library of Congress. In the 1990s, Jeff worked in the software industry, and as a journalist in Washington, Hong Kong, London, and San Francisco covering new technology.
Ensuring long term access to personal digital archives — the sum of an individual’s digital information and creative works — is an unsolved problem, but the need, and variety of proposed solutions, is growing daily. The early work of the Nobel prize winners of the 2030s and 2040s is likely to be born digital, and is therefore at risk in ways that previous scientific and literary creations were not. Over the last three years, discussions at the Personal Digital Archiving conferences held at the Internet Archive, have helped to develop the beginnings of a research agenda that includes questions such as:
• Do libraries, museums, and archives have a new responsibility to collect digital personal materials?
• What new social norms around preservation, access, and disclosure are emerging?
• What are the special needs in academia?
• What tools and services are needed to better enable self-archiving?
• What are viable existing economic models that can support personal archives? What new economic models should we evaluate?
This discussion will summarize some of the suggestions and ideas discussed over the last three years, and some possibilities for future work.