UCSD teams working to preserve digital data


As founding members of the Library of Congress’ National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), the UCSD Libraries are collaborating with other partners to preserve and provide access to valuable data, web pages, audio, and other digital content that supports the nation’s economic, scientific, and cultural innovation.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center is partnering with the UCSD Libraries on the project. Both are partners in Chronopolis, a preservation framework designed to collect and preserve at-risk digital information to meet the archival needs of a wide range of cultural heritage and scientific domains.

“National, collaborative efforts like NDSA and Chronopolis are critical in preserving valuable, at-risk digital content, which is essential in safeguarding our history and culture. The ephemeral nature of the Web, and the staggering amount of information that resides on it, poses serious challenges to scholars as well as consumers trying to conduct serious research,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian at the UC San Diego Libraries. “While books and other printed works are not as instantly accessible as the Web, they are recorded works that can be handed down to future generations and generally are not in danger of disappearing unless misplaced or damaged. Web sites and other digital information are changed and updated constantly, with the average life span of a Web site estimated to be less than 3 months. Changing file and hardware formats also render many digital documents obsolete in less than 4 years.”

UCSD librarians have also been collaborating with a team of UC and other librarians to build a series of Web archives on critical subjects such as the swine flu epidemic and the devastating California wildfires of 2007. Go to: