Showing posts from February, 2013

In praise of Quick View Plus

I just wanted to sing the praises of a great little bit of software that we have been using here to help us recover old files. Quick View Plus is a simple tool for viewing lots of different file formats. As we have been working through boxes of old floppy disks we have found many files that we can read in modern software that we have installed on our PCs (old versions of Word Perfect for example) but many more that we can not view. Rather than purchasing and installing lots of different bits of software to read all of our obsolete Paradox databases and Microsoft Works spreadsheets from the 1990's it has proved to be far more efficient just to purchase a single copy of Quick View Plus Standard Edition. This software allows you to view the contents of over 300 different file formats (often with many different versions of each format) and is a really useful tool for anyone who needs to view or extract content from a wide range of file formats. Though it is purely a tool for viewing f

The Atlas of Digital Damages

One of our 'dead'! Last week I attended a Digital Preservation Coalition day of action on collaborative approaches to digital archiving (and file format identification in particular) jokingly subtitled 'Bring out your Dead'. Our current work has certainly uncovered some digital media and files that could be described as 'dead' and though I didn't really have cause to bring them out on the day, one of the key things that was reinforced by many of the speakers on the day was the importance of collaboration. Digital archiving is complex and evolving field and we can not hope to solve all of the problems we are faced with alone. Although sometimes we may struggle to find the time to actively engage with collaboration initiatives, the importance of making time to do so was highlighted and at the end of the workshop we were asked to commit to at least one of the collaborative initiatives neatly summarised on the OPF wiki page Support your digital preservation com

CDs versus floppies

The digital rescue mission continues... Here are a few words from James who is in the middle of his internship on this project and has been moving his focus away from floppy disks and on to CDs within the office: Floppy disks - more robust than we expected! "I am finding it very enjoyable rifling through collections of CDs and floppy disks to try and discover what they contain, what is recoverable, what has duplicates saved elsewhere and what is important. Something that has been a big surprise to me, and I have found really interesting, was to discover that the floppy disks appear to have a greater lifespan than the CDs that superseded them. Out of the 97 floppy disks I’ve been through (most of these were from the 1990s) only one is completely corrupt. This is in contrast to the 62 CDs I have been working with (mostly from the 2000s) of which there were 4 entirely corrupt disks. It just seems odd that the older technology outlasts the more modern." So in our sample, the flop