Monday, May 16, 2016

Introduction to Free and/or Open Source Tools for Digital Preservation

Over the weekend, Mike, Dallas and I gave a workshop entitled "Introduction to Free and/or Open Source Tools for Digital Preservation" as part of the Personal Digital Archiving 2016 conference. This hands-on workshop introduced participants to a mix of open source and/or free software (and some relatively ubiquitous proprietary software) that can be used via the command line or graphical user interfaces to characterize and review personal digital archives and also perform important preservation actions on content to ensure its long-term authenticity, integrity, accessibility, and security. It was awesome!

After introductions, we discussed:
  • Digital Preservation 101
    • Definitions
    • Challenges
    • Models
  • Tools and Strategies (the hands-on part!)
    • Characterizing and reviewing content
      • WinDirStat
      • DROID
      • bulk_extractor
    • File format transformations (I discussed this a bit in a recent blog post on the theory behind file format migrations)
      • Still Images
        • IrfanView
        • ImageMagick
      • Text(ual) Content 
        • Adobe Acrobat Pro
        • Ghostscript
      • Audio and Video
        • ffmpeg
        • HandBrake
    • Metadata for Digital Preservation
      • Descriptive Metadata
        • Microsoft Word
        • Adobe Acrobat
      • Technical Metadata
        • ExifTool
      • Preservation Metadata
        • MD5summer

In case you're interested, we thought we'd make the slides...

...and exercises....

available to a wider audience! Enjoy!


  1. I would not recommend IrfanView for digital preservation because it has no color management and will delete the color profile of your image.

  2. Thanks for the comment! IrfanView does have some basic color management options. From the help documentation: "Enable color management: some JPG/TIF files are saved with an embedded color profile and this option will use the profiles. You can set the current monitor profile set in your Windows display settings, or set a custom ICC/ICM file."

    That being said, digitization scenarios aren't my specialty. I've just done some basic testing with IrfanView and ExifTool, though, and you're right: if you've decided it's important I'd be careful to make sure that the "significant property" of color profile matches on either end of a migration.

    We actually use IrfanView (and IrfanView Thumbnails) more for appraisal. ImageMagick and Inkscape handle all the migrations.