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Project ‘The Digital City Revives’. A Case Study of Web Archaeology


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Project ‘The Digital City Revives’. A Case Study of Web Archaeology - A sneak preview: DIY Handbook for Web Archaeology

Tjarda de Haan, web archaeologist & guest e-curator Amsterdam Museum

Heritage Studies: Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image
University of Amsterdam, 20 April 2017

Published in: Internet
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Project ‘The Digital City Revives’. A Case Study of Web Archaeology

  1. 1. Project ‘The Digital City Revives’ A Case Study of Web Archaeology -A sneak preview: DIY Handbook for Web Archaeology- Tjarda de Haan, web archaeologist & guest e-curator Amsterdam Museum Heritage Studies: Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image University of Amsterdam, 20 April 2017
  2. 2. DIY Handbook for Web Archaeology • Introduction o Starting points  sharing knowledge, collaboration, participation o Audience and objectives DIY o How is this manual organized? • Born digital cultural heritage o DDS: treasury with (born) digital heritage o Challenges of born digital heritage • Getting started – A step-by-step manual o Start  plan, policy/strategy, document, blog, search partners o Excavate  collect stories, memories and data, crowdsourcing o Reconstruct  analyze data and make it accessible, deploy/develop web archaeological tools, reconstruct heritage o Complete the collections  archive DDS in e-depots, present o Conclusions  share knowledge • Literature / references / sources Project ‘DDS Revives’
  3. 3. 1. Introduction 2. Born digital cultural heritage 3. Getting started – A step-by-step manual 4. Literature / references / sources Project ‘DDS Revives’
  4. 4. What is De Digitale Stad - The Digital City (1994-2001)? • 1st (free) public domain virtual city in the world. • 1st Dutch online community. • 1st time internet (free) accessible to general public in the Netherlands. • Grounded by a fluid group: independent media, hackers and the municipality of Amsterdam. • Attracted international interest for the design: metaphor of a city to structure cyberspace. • Good for the cyberreputation of the city of Amsterdam: • CNN (1997): "For hundreds of years the city of Amsterdam has been a center of commercial trade, art and education. Now it’s helping point the way in the information revolution too". • Manuel Castells (The Internet Galaxy, 2001): "The most famous citizen computer network. (…) A new form of public sphere combining local institutions, grassroots organisations, and computer networks in the development of cultural expression and civic participation". • Inhabitants (users): 1994: 12.000 - 1997: 60.000 - 1998: 80.000 - 2001: 150.000. • Houses (homepages): 1996: 3.300 - 1997: 6.500 - 1998: 2.500 - 2001: 782 Project ‘DDS Revives’
  5. 5. Help! Our digital heritage is getting lost! • "The world’s digital heritage is at risk of being lost” and "It’s preservation is an urgent issue of worldwide concern”, UNESCO in ‘Charter on the preservation of the digital heritage’ (2003). • "The Web was not designed to be preserved. The average life of a Web page is about 100 days“, Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive. • “Humanity’s first steps into the digital world could be lost to future historians. We face a "forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century”, Vint Cerf. Project ‘DDS Revives’
  6. 6. Out of the box, collection 2.0 • The Amsterdam Museum had to cross boundaries and get out of its comfort-zone to break new ground in dealing with digital heritage. To seek out new technologies, and new disciplines. • New areas: Different demands in acquiring and preservation of digitally created expressions of culture or physical objects.  How to preserve digital objects that are interactive, networked, process-oriented and context-dependent? • E-culture: Data are the new clay, scripts are the new shovels and the web is the youngest layer of clay that we mine. Web archaeology is a new direction in e-culture in which we excavate relatively new (born-digital) material, that has only recently been lost, with relatively new (digital) tools. Both matter and methods to excavate and reconstruct our digital past are very young and still developing. Project ‘DDS Revives’
  7. 7. The Digital City: important heritage for Amsterdam • Digital objects bring the story of Amsterdam to life • The Amsterdam Museum has a long relationship with DDS • The Digital City as a -pilot- digital object • Why DDS? – DDS marks a point in history – DDS illustrates the role of Amsterdam in the Internet revolution – DDS history has something typical Amsterdam – DDS makes the development of Internet touchable • Why do we do it again? – Contributing to museum renovation – Cooperation takes us further – The importance of participation and co-creation • The Digital City will definitely come alive! • DDS can be preserved as heritage and DDS will contribute to bringing the history of Amsterdam to life! Project ‘DDS Revives’
  8. 8. 1. Introduction 2. Born digital cultural heritage 3. Getting started – A step-by-step manual 4. Literature / references / sources Project ‘DDS Revives’
  9. 9. Challenges of born-digital heritage • Material: information is complex and transitive by nature. By rapid obsolescence of technology: missing hardware and software, lost documents and link rot. Dynamic character: doesn’t always reach final status and often not clear what belongs to the object. Ethical issues: regarding to privacy, copyright and licensing. • Methodes: there is a difference between web archiving and web archaeology. Web archiving is the equivalent of taking a photographic snapshot of an object, while we first aim to recreate the digital object itself. And then: dynamic web archiving! • Division of tasks: what we *badly* need is: o Developing of web archaeological tools. o Central repository for tools: for example to read obsolete media. o Software library: who is archiving old software like Solaris, Windows, MacOs. o Sustainable e-depot and infrastructure. o Approach: no standards: given the urgency we can not wait. So just do it ... and trial and error! Project ‘DDS Revives’
  10. 10. Treasury with born-digital heritage • DDS is an important historical source about the early years of the Web in the Netherlands. • Culture: DDS is a digital environment, a virtual city with inhabitants, which brought forth objects, ideas and traditions. • Technology: DDS is a complex information system with different applications, through time. DDS is interactive, networked process-based and context-dependent: – 1994-1995: DDS 1.0 - telnet interface – 1994-1995: DDS 2.0 - website: static HTML – 1995-2001: DDS 3.0 - web system: static HTML and interactive web pages DDS 1.0 - 15 January 1994 DDS 3.0 - 10 June 1995 DDS 2.0 - 1 October 1994 Project ‘DDS Revives’
  11. 11. 1. Introduction 2. Born digital cultural heritage 3. Getting started – A step-by-step manual 4. Literature / references / sources Project ‘DDS Revives’
  12. 12. Project ‘DDS Revives’ Start: what do you do? 1. Start: • Make a plan, develop strategy, document, blog, search partners • Launch an Open History Lab and virtual museum 2. Excavate: • Collect stories, memories and data • Crowdsource & engage the community (Grave Diggers Party (parties: plural!) & go to your audience: use social media) 3. Reconstruct: • Analyse & make data readable/accessible • Develop/deploy web archaeological tools • Reconstruct DDS: 'historical true' & 'quick and dirty‘ 4. Complete the collections: • (Dynamic!) Archive DDS data in e-depots • Let the Bytes Free & open it up to the audience: presentation! 5. Finish: • Conclusions, evaluation, documentation, knowledge sharing
  13. 13. Goals of the project ‘DDS Revives’ • Reconstruct and preserve DDS; • Provide insight into the (existing and new) processes, techniques and methods for born- digital material and the context in which they are found, to excavate and reconstruct; • Ask attention to the danger of ‘digital amnesia’; • Provide museums and organizations with specialized knowledge about the reconstruction of born-digital heritage and lower the threshold for future web archaeological projects. Disseminating knowledge about new standards for archives on the storage of digital-born heritage. • Make digital cultural heritage DDS ‘future-proof’: • Visible (content): promoting (re)use of DDS • Usable (connection): improving (re)use of DDS collection by making it available by linking and enriching data. • Preservable (services): maintain DDS sustainable and keep it accessible. Project ‘DDS Revives’
  14. 14. Excavate: What would you do? Project ‘DDS Revives’ 1. 2. ?!
  15. 15. Project ‘DDS Revives’ Projectverslag DDS. Hacking in the polder1995 [Nettime-nl] dds: uit de oude doos II (1993) WaybackMachine 1996
  16. 16. Excavate: Collect stories, memories and data • Search Wayback Machine - The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Go to: • Search Momento - A search engine for web archives. Go to: Project ‘DDS Revives’
  17. 17. Excavate: Collect stories, memories and data • Search - millions of digitized texts from Dutch newspapers, books, magazines and radio. Texts from collections of scientific institutions, libraries and cultural heritage institutions. Project ‘DDS Revives’
  18. 18. Excavate: ‘Grave Diggers Party’ 1. Working space  The Archaeological Site re:DDS • Workstations: • Bring and upload your code. • Digg in the Wayback Machine and store excavations in Historical (e-)Depot. • Share your stories and memories in the Open History Lab • Tools: • Computers: excavators. • Storage: buckets. • UNIX commands, mice: pades, pick-axe, trowels. • Scripts : metal detectors. • USB: find bags. • Metadata: find cards. 2. Museum space  Tourist Tours • /Lost+found: ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’: • Hardware: servers, terminals, modembanks, taperobots etc. • Screenshots of DDS. • Billboard’s: • What is DDS? Where are you? What is this site? Why this site? Project ‘DDS Revives’
  19. 19. Excavate: Collect stories, memories and data Ask the experts (former users/inhabitants/creators): • The appearances of the homepage • Excerpts from the Metro (the Digital Underground) • Terminals, servers, pictures of the first inhabitants, their avatars, the interfaces, the ideas suggested • DDS running at Netscape on PCs of that time. • All bytes that I'm lost • Special things that are on photo's of the meetings. A coaster, a T-shirt etc • The old site. As a tribute • The ability to chat as in the time of DDS • Large boards of DDS interface, a working DDS, a circle with computers where you can log in again and as many DDS'ers :) You might also like to exhibit the homes of the residents, with the profiles • Actually the atmosphere. But that will be difficult • The Stone Age Computer. • DDS 3.0 operating • Bruine Kroeg (virtual bar) Go to Project ‘DDS Revives’
  20. 20. Excavate: know what you are looking for Archaeological remains of the city: • Software - Interfaces (DDS 1,2,3 and 3.5), Freezes (1996 and DDS3). • Hardware - Shaman, Alibaba, Aladdin, etc. Tape-robot, anybody? • Special projects - web: DDS Webmix, Metro, cafés, etc. • Special projects - hybrid: SMART TV, IjburgTV, Transparant Amsterdam,, etc. • Individual houses and squares - Thisbe, Plein van de Dood, etc. Project ‘DDS Revives’
  21. 21. /lost+found: Project ‘DDS Revives’
  22. 22. /lost+found: FREEZE! Project ‘DDS Revives’
  23. 23. Project ‘DDS Revives’
  24. 24. Reconstruction: From data to database Three years HDC: •FIRST: every participant signs a contract! •Develop new methods to get more and different information •Building datasets for scientists / researchers •Building tools to query / research  forensic tools, make searchable, filtering techniques, visualization etc •Result: Working software so far: Avatar Generator & DDS3.0 •Next: Analysis of the content! Project ‘DDS Revives’
  25. 25. 2 variants DDS3.0 (squares / houses interface): Emulation: •'DDS 3.0' - old code on new machines •Recompile the original code •Emulate hardware and/or software •Starting point: restoring the original software Replica: •'DDS 4.0' - old data into new software •Make-over with new technology •Based on modern software •Starting points: restore the user experience & recreate historical object & present it without privacy and security issues Project ‘DDS Revives’
  26. 26. Project ‘DDS Revives’ Presentation DDS from1999 SMART TV 1994 Webwandeling 1996 Webmix - Archeologische dienst 1997
  27. 27. Complete the collections: research • From raw data to e-depot. How to preserve digital objects that are interactive, networked, process-oriented and context-dependent? Using the Open Archive Information System (OAIS): o Ingest: How to read DDS data into an archive and what agreements can be made? o Archival Storage: Which archives are reliable for the DDS data and how should the data be stored? o Data management: How should DDS data be managed and which metadata are required? o Administration: Who takes care of the maintenance, and what does that look like? o Preservation planning: How do DDS data remain accessible in the future and how to manage this? o Access: How can interested people get to the DDS data? • How to present the DDS born-digital heritage in a museum context for future generations? Project ‘DDS Revives’
  28. 28. Complete the collections: preserve and present From excavation to e-depot: three preservation scenario’s: 1. Bit preservation. Only storage of excavated data: saving the ones and zeros without sustainability actions. This backup can be used to create a reconstruction in the future. 2. Sustainable storage as dark-archive (= the master, designated community, read only). Dynamic storage of all excavated and reconstructed DDS data. Starting point: full preservation; storage of bits and preservation planning and action if necessary. 3. Sustainable storage ánd access. Dynamic storage of excavated and reconstructed DDS 3.0 data with two sub-scenarios: o Providing access from the e-Depot o Create a derivative variant for museum presentation o The first benefits of long-term access, the second for the benefit of immediate use Project ‘DDS Revives’
  29. 29. THANK YOU!!!!! “Please do make sure that colleagues and contributors are made aware of the impressive impact of their efforts and the high regard with which we hold your work”. - William Kilbride, DPC Because: •The collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and also with the community that used the website. That they were able to dig out that data is extremely impressive. •It preserves rich culture *and* it tells others how they can do it too. But fundamentally this is a project all about people - at the start, middle and end - and sometimes we forget this. •This is an innovative and exciting project.
  30. 30. LOST & FOUND: DDS in the museum! Project ‘DDS Revives’
  31. 31. And (again!) you celebrate with the community! Project ‘DDS Revives’
  32. 32. Conclusions: not yet… we need you! • Share your memories on • Do you have excavations? Mail • Visit the Amsterdam Museum and immortalise yourself! • Participate at the Heritage Hacking Labs! Project ‘DDS Revives’
  33. 33. 1. Introduction 2. Born digital cultural heritage 3. Getting started – A step-by-step manual 4. Literature / references / sources Project ‘DDS Revives’
  34. 34. Literature / references / sources Get inspired: • Digital Preservation Coalition: Digital Preservation Handbook: • Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage: UNESCO • Project "The Digital City Revives. A Case Study of Web Archaeology" in: Proceedings of iPRES2016, 13th International Conference on Digital Preservation (July 2016). • Wiki: Sustainable access to digital information: (Dutch) • Follow us: (Dutch) - and take part!  Project ‘DDS Revives’
  35. 35. Thanks to: Our partners (till now): Amsterdam City Archives, Digital Heritage Netherlands, Digital Preservation Coalition, Dutch Cultural Coalition for Digital Durability, Joost Flint, Karin Spaink, independent researcher, Dutch Computer Heritage Foundation, International Institute of Social History, LIMA, National Coalition Digital Preservation, National Library of the Netherlands, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Old inhabitants, (ex) DDS employees and DDS affiliated web-archeologists, UvA Faculty of Science: dr. G. Alberts, Waag Society. Sources: • Guidelines for the Preservating of Digital Heritage (March 2003). • IIPC: Web Archives: The Future(s), by Eric T. Meyer, Arthur Thomas, Ralph Schroeder (2011, University of Oxford) • Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage: UNESCO URL_ID=17721&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html. • WIR SIND HIER – Opening TOTAL RECALL – The Evolution of Memory • The excavation of the Temple of Isis in Pompeii Photo: Bridgeman Art Library Herculaneum.html. • Old files, by xkcd, and see • And more: Contact • Project ‘DDS Revives’