Storage Tip for Digital Photos and Videos: Archival Grade Gold DVDs

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Everpresent gold-dvds-580x250

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Alex Judge, Everpresent, (a MAM-A partner)

At EverPresent, our mission is to digitally convert and preserve the sights and sounds of the past. We have clients bring us treasured family memories that they are looking to secure in digital formats for both preservation and to make it easy to share with loved ones. Every day we scan beat up scrapbooks that have been in the family for generations, or transfer film reels that have spent 60 years in a box in an attic or basement. Each client brings in a unique family story to go along with their collection.

It’s a testament to the caring touch of our clients that these formats have made it through the years, and it underscores the importance of transferring these items to a digital format that will similarly stand the test of time, so that the converted digital copies can be passed along through generations, just as the originals have been. Too often we hear word from our clients who have had a hard drive crash or a DVD scratched beyond repair. These folks are skeptical of the durability of transferring over to digital formats, and rightfully so. While digitizing definitely makes these memories easy to share with loved ones in the moment, it’s equally important to ensure that digital files are stored in a durable way in order to pass the memories from generation to generation.

Why Gold DVDs Matter

This is why we offer true Archival quality Gold DVDs to our clients. These DVDs are actually created from 24 karat gold–thin layers prevent corrosion over time, compared to other silver discs. An additional hard coating renders the DVDs virtually impervious to inadvertent smudges and scratches. With the DVDs rated for more than 80 years, clients can be assured that their converted video tapes, slides, photos and film reels will be preserved long into the future. Another benefit to DVD storage in general is that the data can’t be changed or erased once we burn it to the DVD, which eliminates any accidental file deletion.

Photo courtesy of http://www.mam-a.com/

 

Beyond offering Gold DVDs to clients looking to scan and preserve their treasured 35mm wedding negatives or transfer their 16mm film reels to a more secure digital format, Gold DVDs also play an integral part in the backup service we offer to our own clients. When folks want us to help them out with backing up their digital collections, we burn everything to a Gold DVD in addition to keeping it on our servers. This plays a dual role of keeping it safe as well as creating a separate record of the files in case anything happens with the first.

Archival grade Gold DVDs from MAM-A have created incredible value for our clients. Providing a high quality device is the perfect complement to our personalized service and attention to detail. It plays a huge role in our clients trusting us with their precious memories, and it’s a big relief to know that the memories will be safe long after they have been converted into digital formats.

Contact: Everpresent  http://everpresent.com/

Blu-Ray is a Great Way to Store a Lot of Stuff

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Source: Outdoor Photographer

blu-ray-disc-icon-1280x1024I want to try Blu-Ray for long-term photo backup. You see, I’ve had troubles with hard drives. Lots of troubles.

My typical method of protecting my photo files is to archive my images daily to another internal hard drive that serves as a short-term backup. Then on a monthly basis, I copy those images to an external hard drive and duplicate them onto a series of DVDs. That way I’ve got two backups—one magnetic and one optical—and they can be stored in separate locations.

It’s a good thing I make those DVD backups too, because I’m approaching a 100% failure rate on external hard drives. I’ve lost three this year. Two of them failed for no reason, one of them was damaged due to human error (when I dropped it). I duplicated all those DVDs each time, and it was a real pain. But at least I was able to recover my data from the DVD backups, and at least I once again have duplicate versions.

The problem is that I need to replace the long-term hard drive storage with a more efficient medium. DVDs are fine, as I end up burning anywhere from 10 to 30 of them every month. It would sure be nice to streamline that system into a single process—like I would get from a Blu-Ray disk with a capacity as much as six times greater than a DVD.

Why don’t I just invest in a Drobo hard drive system, or perhaps a full-scale RAID? It’s really a matter of money. Sure, the cost per gigabyte is better with these redundant-disk hard drive systems. But even the relatively affordable Drobo requires a more significant up front capital investment than a Blu-Ray burner (which can be had for $200, and five- to ten-dollar recordable discs). If you’re not backing up truly massive quantities of data, the 25-gigs of a single layer Blu-Ray is a great way to store a lot of stuff, relatively quickly and efficiently and affordably. Most of all, more archivally.

More than anything, as exciting as Drobo or Raid hard drive systems might be, they still would require a level of “maintenance” that I’m getting tired of. The genius of redundant drives is that when one fails, it can be swapped for a new one. That’s a great failsafe, but it’s based on a premise I still don’t love: “when” the drive fails.

My magnetic media confidence has been shaken by all of my recent hard drive disasters. The idea of storing my photos on optical media—a disc that seems to be inherently more durable and stable than magnetic media drives—gets more appealing every day.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Should I digitize my photo collection? Is it safe to throw away my original film and prints after I digitize them?

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Preserving Memories

Preserving Memories

You may want to digitize your photographs because it offers safe and easy access to the images in your collection. Once your photographs have been scanned, you can view them in electronic form and even make hard copies without risking damage to the originals. Do not throw away your original film and prints after you digitize them. Digitized images are not considered a replacement for originals. Data (i.e. your images) can be lost when the storage media deteriorates; and software and hardware technology become rapidly obsolete, in some cases making retrieval of the images difficult if not impossible.

If you are an archivist, curator, or custodian of a large photographic collection and are considering digitization.

For stable, reliable, high capacity, long life data storage, MAM-A Inc. has developed Gold Archive Grade, recordable DVD media and Gold Archive Grade, recordable CD media.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Art From War

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Source: Library of Congress

Disabled veterans, Walter Reed Hospital.  1918.

Disabled veterans, Walter Reed Hospital.
1918.

Pictures can eloquently convey some of the ugliness of war. Creating art can also be a powerful means of communicating the experience of war and coping with war trauma.

On Thursday, January 22nd, Tara Tappert, an independent scholar who has spent the past twelve months as a David B. Larson Fellow in Health & Spirituality at the John W. Kluge Center, will examine how and why medical institutions and social organizations embraced arts and crafts making in the aftermath of war in a talk entitled, “Art from War: Documenting Devastation/Realizing Restoration.” Using examples from her research in Library of Congress visual and textual collections, Tappert will explore how two distinctly different artistic approaches to the experiences of war trauma–documentation and restoration–can be traced to the devastation of World War I.

The talk is being co-sponsored by the Library’s Veterans History Project and the Prints and Photographs Division, and a display of items from both collections will accompany the lecture. All are welcome to attend; no registration is necessary.

What: “Art from War: Documenting Devastation/Realizing Restoration” (talk by Tara Tappert, Larson Fellow at The John W. Kluge Center)
When: Thursday, January 22, at 4:00 p.m
Where: Library of Congress Jefferson Building, Room 119

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Archiving Means Staying Current on Latest Technologies

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video-distributionSource: Archivists Guide to Archiving Video

As you have likely experienced, technology changes rapidly and dramatically, and hardware does not last long. Even if your videos remain intact and uncorrupted in storage, at some point in the future they may become obsolete unplayable because new machines and software will not be able to read them.

Long-term preservation involves not only maintaining the original, but also regularly refreshing it on new storage media and, for access, migrating to up-to-date formats or building software that can play the obsolete format.

By definition, preservation requires ongoing resources. Whoever is going to preserve your videos has to be able to commit to investing what is necessary to retain, manage, and provide access over a long period of time. This includes technological and organizational infrastructure, skilled staff, financial resources, planning, and policies.

Archiving is an ongoing process that begins when a video is created and continues infinitely into the future.  Archiving is a process that can be incorporated into your existing video workflows.

Archiving is a way to ensure your videos remain authentic and intact, so you can use them as evidence. Archiving is a way to ensure your videos are available, findable and playable long into the future. However archiving is NOT a one-time action and archiving is NOT putting your videos on a hard drive and leaving it on a shelf.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Backup, archiving and records management – different solutions for different challenges

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DATAMANAGEMENTThere is no doubt that data management and preservation are critically important to business. However, there may be misconceptions when it comes to the process around the differences between backup, archiving and records management.

While all three are important, depending on the size of the organization, they are not the same thing, and nor can they typically be handled by the same technology. Each of these data challenges requires a specific solution to perform specific functions, ensuring that data is not only available and preserved, but also easily managed.

Data backup is essential for everyday operations. This process in essence creates a copy of current data and stores it in another location. For example, should a set of data go missing or become corrupt, or a notebook or desktop is lost, stolen or fails, this information can be restored exactly as it was from the last backup. A backup is a working file that includes all of the data, as well as how it was arranged and stored on an on-going working basis.  It can be stored on an external hard drive, a storage server, in the cloud, or a combination of these tools. Backups can be performed manually, but a more efficient process is to make use of a solution that automates this process and backs up data incrementally, so that there is always one copy of the most current information available to be restored. This also reduces the time taken to backup data significantly.

Archiving, on the other hand, consists of static information as opposed to a working file – a repository of old information that is not required on a daily, on-going basis. Archives cannot be used to restore a machine that has failed, but are used to find a particular file for a particular purpose. Examples of this include emails older than a certain date, as well as records and customer data that needs to be retained, but is not accessed regularly.

Data often needs to be retained for compliance and eDiscovery purposes – many industries are required to keep five years of financial data, for example, in the event that authorities require an audit.  Another example is the healthcare sector must keep patient records for up to 20 years. This information does not necessarily have to be easily retrievable, but must be accessible if necessary, and maintaining all of this data in tier-one storage such as a backup is expensive and unnecessary. This is where archiving solutions come in and this older data is usually stored on less expensive media.

Many organizations require both backup and archiving, which typically cannot be accomplished using the same tool. However, they need to work together to ensure efficiency. For large organizations where data volumes are high and data is stored in a variety of different formats, records management may be an essential supplementary tool.

Records management helps enterprises to organize, manage, and govern records of all types, including physical files, electronic documents, and emails. Records management solutions are essentially governance solutions for capturing, classifying, tracking, scheduling, and managing media of all types, and assist with minimizing risk.

When faced with managing data, many organizations may be the impression that an all-encompassing system for backup, archiving and records management is the most efficient solution. However, with the sheer volume and variety of data, from paper to electronic records, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, records retention, archiving, email and more, these cannot efficiently be tackled as a single project, as the objectives and outcomes of backup, archiving and records management, while similar, are not identical. When looking to implement data management solutions, it is essential for organizations to first analyze their requirements before taking the decision as to whether they require backup, archiving or records management, or a combination of these tools, or even all three.

Gareth Tudor, CEO of Altonet

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

 

Caught Our Eyes: Window Shopping

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WINDOW SHOPPING

Window shoppers watching toy display in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Photo by Jack Delano, Dec. 1940.

Source: Library of Congress
December 24, 2014
By Kristi Finefield

When searching for that perfect gift, many of us now turn to the computer and the convenience of online shopping. However, I can’t help but be nostalgic for a time when shopping often meant looking at elaborate window displays of the newest toys or gadgets instead of tapping on a keyboard. I can almost hear the young boy below working on his wish list for Santa as he gazes at this toy display:

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Neon Lights Up the Night

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December 18, 2014 by Jeff Bridgers
Source: Library of Congress

Hacienda Horse and Rider, historic neon sign, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006.

Hacienda Horse and Rider, historic neon sign, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006.

This neon caballero astride his rearing horse proved an instant favorite.. In this season of special holiday lighting, year-round bright lights come to mind — the neon signs featured in these photographs by Carol M. Highsmith. There are plenty more where these came from at The Library of Congress website. Enjoy!

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Deep Eddy municipal pool, Austin, Texas. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, April 19, 2014.

Deep Eddy municipal pool, Austin, Texas. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, April 19, 2014.

Archiving and Its Role in Keeping the Office Tidy

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DISC STORAGESource: Lok’nStore
Have you heard the idea that a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind? Apparently this is true, so if you expand that to a cluttered office instead, well… you can imagine how cluttered your mind would feel. Where is everything? Where’s that piece of paperwork you had to file? What about that order that came in – where did that go?
In short you spend so much time trying to find things; you can easily get frustrated and get less work done as a result. Fast forward a few years when you have a few more years’ worth of paperwork on top of the horrors mentioned above, you get the idea.

Archiving keeps all the old paperwork well-organized and yet still easy to access, just in case you should ever need to lay your hands on it. Furthermore you don’t even have to keep archived stuff in the office anymore. Thanks to the rise and rise of self-storage you’ve now got a practical and cheap solution to finding somewhere to put it all. After all it’s still easy to lay your hands on it all if you need it, and yet you don’t need that much space to keep it all in.

So let’s assume you decide to go for the archiving in self-storage solution. What would your office space look like now? The chances are it would be leaner, meaner and a lot tidier than before. You’d have more space. With everything neatly archived or filed away, you’d have more desk space and the whole room would seem more relaxing. In fact you might find that once you get rid of the clutter, your mind will feel a lot clearer too. Why not try it and see how it works for you?

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Platinum Photographs: Art from a Noble Metal

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October 16, 2014 by Barbara Orbach Natanson
The following is a guest post by Verna Curtis, Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division.

RODINPortrait of Auguste Rodin in his studio. Platinum photograph on Japanese paper by Gertrude Käsebier, ca. 1906.

Imagine how people understood photographs in 1900, when photography had been around for just over sixty years. Were photographs factual documents? Could they be a new form of artistic expression? Those producing photographic prints knew, but the public was unsure whether photographs could be art.

A highlight of the growing international effort to exhibit photographs as art was the groundbreaking Internationale Ausstellung Künstlerischer Photographien (International Exhibition of Art Photographers) in Vienna in 1891. American Pictorialists (“pictorial” was the favored term for art photography) soon dominated shows in a variety of locations, including Chicago; San Francisco; Pittsburgh; and Newark, Ohio.

The Pictorialists shared with their counterparts in the graphic arts an interest in old master and Japanese prints, subtle printing effects, and technical experimentation. Among the experiments were photographs with the precious platinum metal as their base. The photographs are highly prized for their broad tonal range and delicate non-reflective surface. Their blacks or browns convey the qualities of softness and warmth. Yet, they could last a very long time. The artful platinum photographs of F. Holland Day, Clarence H. White, and Gertrude Käsebier are a special strength within the Prints and Photographs Division’s photography collections.

F. Holland Day (1864-1933), bibliophile, publisher, and photographer, was the New England leader of the Pictorialist Movement. Hallmarks of his style include the innovative use of cutout shapes and colored papers for mounting his photographs.

Platinum15841rClarence H. White (1871-1925), is best known as a teacher and founder of an American art school for photographers. The Library acquired Clarence H. White’s photographs early in 1926. His eponymous New York school for photography was the first in America to integrate design into its curriculum. White’s students were pioneers in the fields of photojournalism and advertising.

Spring. A triptych (Letitia Felix), Newark, Ohio. Platinum photograph by Clarence White, 1898.

The beauty of platinum photographs and their special qualities are receiving particular attention this fall. Twenty outstanding examples of original platinum printing will soon go on display at the Library of Congress (Jefferson Building, 1stFloor, South, October 20 to November 8, 2014). The display coincides with a symposium organized by the National Gallery of Art presenting collaborative research on the technical, chemical, and aesthetic history and practice of platinum photography (Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, October 21-24, 2014).

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

October is American Archives Month

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Since 2006, American Archives Month has given the profession an opportunity to tell (or remind) people that items that are important to them are being preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by archivists. This year, American Archives Month is doubly significant: SAA President Kathleen Roe has kicked off the Year of Living Dangerously for Archives, encouraging archivists to take concerted actions to increase awareness of and advocate for archives. Her first call to action—Demonstrate the Values of Archives—echoes the efforts that many archivists and repositories are taking this October to celebrate American Archives Month.

To help you participate in American Archives Month and the Year of Living Dangerously for Archives, SAA has provided archivists with practical information and great ideas to help make your archives program more visible. Plus, read how your colleagues across the country are celebrating, and email saahq@archivists.org to tell us how you are commemorating the month.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Blu-ray Burning Software Review

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By Sean Peek

Blu-ray Discs are the best way to experience movies in your home. The picture quality and sound quality is superior to that of other video formats. This is due in part to the fact that Blu-rays have five times the storage capacity as DVDs do.

Blu-ray technology hit the world intent on revolution. It already has left HD DVD smoldering in the wake of the next-generation format war, and the 15-year reign of the DVD is currently under assault. Armed with high-density data storage that supports HD and 3D formats, the Blu-ray upheaval is poised to strike home videos next. If you have a high-definition camcorder, you will also need a Blu-ray burner and Blu-ray burning software to play those videos on your HDTV.

As televisions get wider, the playback of low-capacity DVDs will get blurrier. Only Blu-rays and Blu-ray burner software are prepared to cope with the increasing demand for high-definition videos. With upwards of 50GB of storage capacity, Blu-rays are perfect for backing up important data and burning Blu-ray movies. In addition, an industry standard scratch-resistant polymer coating makes them slightly more durable than DVDs and CDs.
Of all our Blu-ray burning software comparisons and reviews, the leading choices are Leawo Blu-ray Copy, Blue-Cloner and Leawo Blu-ray Creator. If you want to learn more check out our learning center for more articles on Blu-ray burning software.

Blu-ray Burning Software: What to Look For

Before you commit yourself to a Blu-ray burning software package, ask yourself what you want to do with it. There are many specialized options, and you don’t want to be stuck with something that doesn’t suit your needs.

Disc Options

Look for software that retains playback quality as close to the original as possible. If you are looking to copy your discs completely in their original form, look for Blu-ray writing software that creates an exact 1:1 copy of your disc. The best Blu-ray burning software gives you options to customize your copy, such as eliminating or retaining menus and bonus features. Look for software that can retain existing 3D effects from 3D Blu-ray discs.

Feature Set

Look for Blu-ray burning software that either retains existing disc menus or allows you to create customized menus for your burned discs. Exceptional software allows you to even copy 3D Blu-rays. If you have multiple files, look for software that can merge those files so that you can burn them all on one disc. Conversely, good burning software also allows you to split large chunks of information and burn that information on several different discs. It is helpful if Blu-ray writer software can compress the data to smaller discs such as DVDs. Look for software that supports multiple languages so that you have access to the software in your native language. If you have damaged discs, look for software that can retrieve data from corrupted discs. Lastly, if you want to export audio from one of your movies, some burning software allows you to extract audio tracks to burn onto a disc.
Ease of Use
The process of copying Blu-rays can be complicated and potentially confusing. Some software offers lots of options and settings to work with, which can become overwhelming. Look for Blu-ray burning software that is not only easy to install, but also comes with a clean and intuitive user interface. Drag-and-drop support and graphical buttons are desirable, as well as simple menus. Software that has a live preview option enables you to preview your selected options before burning a copy of your disc.
Decryption Power

If you plan to back up your personal Blu-ray collection, you will want an application capable of decrypting and ripping videos. This refers to how effectively Blu-ray burning software can remove the copy protection found on commercial Blu-rays. This is necessary in order to copy an encrypted Blu-ray disc. If the software hasn’t been updated in a while or lacks decryption capabilities, its usefulness is limited to copying non-commercial discs such as videos you record on your own.

Output Media
An important aspect of Blu-ray burning software is its ability to create Blu-ray discs. However, if the software can also burn files to DVDs and CDs, then you are not restricted to only using Blu-ray discs, which are more expensive. Another important feature is the ability to burn disk images. Images are virtual copies of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc that serves as a template to burn physical copies quickly and cleanly. Look for software that will not only create these copies, but that can store them on your hard drive as well.

Help & Support
Blu-ray burning can be a confusing process so look for companies that offer technical support through at least a few methods. Look for a company that has online tutorials, either videos or step-by-step guides, to help you through the process. You should also look for a company that offers support via email or live chat in case you run into problems with the software.
If you are looking for a way to back up your movie collection or save important files, then Blu-ray burner software is an ideal way to store all of that information on high-density Blu-ray discs. The best software is easy to use, creates quality copies and has technical support available for when you need it.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.
MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

What is Blu-ray?

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Source: blu-ray.com
Blu-ray, is the name of a new optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

While current optical disc technologies such as DVD, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM rely on a red laser to read and write data, the new format uses a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name Blu-ray. Despite the different type of lasers used, Blu-ray products can easily be made backwards compatible with CDs and DVDs through the use of a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical pickup unit. The benefit of using a blue-violet laser (405nm) is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser (650nm), which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space, so it’s possible to fit more data on the disc even though it’s the same size as a CD/DVD. This together with the change of numerical aperture to 0.85 is what enables Blu-ray Discs to hold 25GB/50GB. Recent development by Pioneer has pushed the storage capacity to 500GB on a single disc by using 20 layers.

Blu-ray is currently supported by about 200 of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer, recording media, video game and music companies. The format also has support from all Hollywood studios and countless smaller studios as a successor to today’s DVD format. Many studios have also announced that they will begin releasing new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD, as well as a continuous slate of catalog titles every month. For more information about Blu-ray movies, check out our Blu-ray movies and Blu-ray reviewssection which offers information about new and upcoming Blu-ray releases, as well as what movies are currently available in the Blu-ray format.

MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Why Facebook has chosen to stockpile Blu-ray discs for data storage

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Source: CNN Money
By James O’Toole  @jtotoole August 21, 2014

Facebook director of hardware design Gio Coglitore shows off Blu-ray discs used in the prototype.

There aren’t too many people collecting Blu-ray discs these days. But while the technology is fast becoming obsolete for movie viewers, Facebook sees it as a promising new means for handling data storage.

Given Facebook’s immense data needs, the company has a big incentive to find ways of handling storage.

Facebook (FBTech30) users have uploaded more than 400 billion photos, adding an average of more than 350 million each day.

Those data demands will only increase with time, particularly as personal cameras and smartphones become capable of capturing higher-quality images. That’s why Facebook engineers have developed a storage prototype using Blu-ray discs that they believe could greatly reduce the cost of archiving all that data.

When you upload a photo to Facebook, it gets copied and stored across multiple servers, each of which consumes a huge amount of power. This ensures that users won’t face delays when they access those images.

But most of the photos and videos are only popular for a few days (you probably won’t be watching all those Ice Bucket Challenge clips a year from now). Just 8% of Facebook photos — generally the most recent — generate 82% of the site’s overall traffic.

Keeping multiple copies of old photos on active, power-hungry servers isn’t energy-efficient or cost-effective, so Facebook engineers have developed a “cold storage” system for the backup images.

As images begin to be viewed less, Facebook reduces the number of active servers on which they’re stored. Once images can be maintained on just one active server, the backup copies go into cold storage.

Active, “hot” servers contain not only the images themselves but also the software needed to deliver them to users. With cold storage, the backup images are stored on racks of hard drives that are spun up and accessed individually when the files need to be rebuilt on the “hot” servers.

But hard drives are vulnerable to physical damage, and it takes a long time to restore all the data they contain. The alternative? Blu-ray.

Facebook is now experimenting with a storage prototype that uses racks of Blu-ray discs instead of hard drives. The discs are held in groups of 12 in locked cartridges and are extracted by a robotic arm whenever they’re needed.

One rack contains 10,000 discs, and is capable of storing a petabyte of data, or one million gigabytes.

Blu-ray discs offer a number of advantages versus hard drives. For one thing, the discs are more resilient: they’re water- and dust-resistant, and better able to withstand temperature swings. Their data can be restored more quickly, and they’re easier to transport.

Most important, though, is cost. Because the Blu-ray system doesn’t need to be powered when the discs aren’t in use, it uses 80% less power than the hard-drive arrangement, cutting overall costs in half.

An initial hurdle for the project was the fact that before a few years ago, manufacturers weren’t producing discs larger than 25 gigabytes, which is all you need to store a feature-length movie. But the capacity on Blu-ray and similar disc-based technologies has been increasing, with Sony and Panasonic announcing plans earlier this year to offer 300 GB discs by the summer of 2015.

So far, Facebook’s storage prototype is still in the testing phase, but if the system continues to perform well, it will be deployed across the company to handle photo archiving.

“We now feel that we have a way to store things online for many years reliably,” said Gio Coglitore, director of hardware design at Facebook. “Facebook is really pioneering a way to do that economically.”

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Feast Your Eyes: Food of the Middle East

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Source: Library of Congress
By: Kristi Finefield

The following is a  guest post for the Feast Your Eyes series by Arden Alexander, Cataloging Specialist, Prints and Photographs Division.

Numerous photographs in the Prints and Photographs Division’s over 75,000 historical images of the Middle East show the people of the region harvesting, preparing, cooking, selling and enjoying food and drink.  Included in these are images which document Middle Eastern food traditions brought by immigrants to theUnited States.

This photograph shows men gathered at a restaurant in what was known as “Little Syria” in lower Manhattan, New York City, around 1910-1915. The residents of this neighborhood were mostly Arab Americans, including Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians from areas which were part of the Ottoman Empire at the time.

Pastry counter, Syrian restaurant. Photo by Bain News Service, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915.

 

Pans of food rest on a long counter where employees wearing aprons serve the hungry customers. The first three pans in the front look like baklava, a multi-layered pastry. Many variants of this treat exist, but baklava is usually made with thin sheets of buttered dough (called filo or phyllo) which alternate with layers of chopped walnuts, pistachios or other nuts.  A cold sugar or honey syrup, sometimes flavored with rosewater or lemon juice, is poured over the hot pastry after it comes out of the oven. This delicious dessert is common throughout the Middle East and other places including Greece, Armenia and Central Asia.

Here are samples of more Middle East food images, taken in the early to mid-20th century:

River scenes on the Tigris. Barges of watermelons with typical Iraqi boys. Photo by American Colony (Jerusalem) Photo Dept., 1932.

 

 

Roasting coffee. Photo, between 1934 and 1935, from album “Bedouins in Jordan and other locations” by John D. Whiting.

 

 

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Take a Ride with Prints and Photos: Bicycles and Balance Required

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Source: Library of Congress
August 7, 2014 by Kristi Finefield

When I was a kid, I was happy to tool around the neighborhood on my red, white and blue bike, handlebar tassels flowing in the breeze. My brother, on the other hand, once attempted to jump a Volkswagen Beetle on his two wheeler. Bicycles can tempt certain people to go fast, go high and try almost anything. Take the Gaynells, otherwise known as “The 7 Wild Wheel Whirl Wonders,” whose act was featured in this 1902 circus poster.

“The 7 Wild Wheel Whirl Wonders,” whose act was featured in this 1902 circus poster.

Early cycling enthusiasts rode all kinds of contraptions as the bicycle evolved in the 19th and 20th centuries. To my eye, just riding an early bicycle such as a ‘penny-farthing’ or ‘ordinary’ was an exercise in daring. An 1890 photo (below, left) shows that people even raced on these tall bikes, though clearly needed a bit of help to line up for the start. The act of getting on a bike of this proportion even seems tricky, as evidenced by a photo from around 1920.

Bicycle Race–The start. Photo copyrighted by Geo. Barker, 1890

And when it comes to daring deeds, let’s not forget the daredevil Allo Diavolo, who put his bicycle – and nerves – to the test doing this loop-the-loop trick for an audience in 1905.

Diavolo performing his bicycle daredevil act before a large audience. Photo by Fred G. Mathiessen, copyrighted 1905.

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Touring French History Through Political Cartoons

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Source: Library of Congress
By Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Woody Woodis, Cataloger, Prints and Photographs Division

Pariser poisarden. Aquatint and etching by C. Katz, 1794

In honor of Bastille Day, or La Fête Nationale, marking the beginning of the French Revolution, we feature highlights from the French Political Cartoon Collection. This small but exemplary collection of 365 prints spans almost two centuries and touches on every aspect of French political culture from Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, to Napoleon III, the last emperor to rule France.

The Library of Congress obtained the prints from a variety of sources; many came as part of a substantial purchase of the Windsor Library collection in 1926.

Suggesting the conditions the led to revolution, Calendrier royal indiquant le cours du soleil (1706) shows Louis XIV sitting on a crude throne at the center of the sun whose rays are filled with text that often present the low-lights of his reign; in the upper left corner, reference to the eclipse of 1705 further casts a shadow on the dimming light of the Sun King’s final years.

Commemorating the storming of the Bastille in July 1789, Adieu Bastille (ca. 1789) presents the rise of the peasantry as an enormous, imposing figure who treats the aristocracy and the clergy as figures in a child’s game, while in the background,  workers dismantle the Bastille.

Pariser Poisarden (ca. 1794) illustrates the role of women during the insurrectionary days of the French Revolution.

In France, censorship of the press was a major issue throughout the
19th century.

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Learning with Prints

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Source: Library of Congress
By: Barbara Orbach Natanson

School may be out for the summer, but around the Library of Congress there’s always something new to learn. This week I joined teachers attending one of the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institute sessions to display examples of primary sources that might be suited to classroom exercises. It set me to reflecting on examples in our collections of pictures intended for classrooms past.

Among the items that were clearly designed for classroom use are a series of prints found in our historical print collections. Issued by Louis Prang & Co., a prolific publisher of chromolithographs, “Prang’s Aids for Object Teaching” included this picture of a kitchen as a work site.

Prang’s aids for object teaching–The kitchen. Lithograph by L. Prang & Co., copyrighted 1874.

The accompanying teacher’s manual for using the prints in the classroom outlines a basic exercise for the youngest students: name the objects in the print. How many can you name? Some utensils in the list would be familiar from today’s kitchens, others not so much: “shovel, tongs, poker, grate, stove, griddle, oven, range, boiler, pot, tea-kettle, teapot, saucepan, spider, gridiron, ladle, pail, coal-scuttle, dipper, bucket, pan, bowl, broiler, coffee-mill, cup, mug, plate, broom, bellows…”

The teacher’s manual offers a graduated series of exercises where children at higher levels would explain the what, why, and how of the tools and processes depicted in the prints. Those relating to the tinsmith and the carpenter offer still more wonders for the modern viewer seeking to understand work places and educational approaches of the past.

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Embrace Your Geekness Day

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Embrace Your Geekness Day. When : July 13th.

Embrace Your Geekness Day is a great day to be a Geek. Or, to know a Geek. A geek is an individual who is highly intelligent (brainy) and technically oriented. They are most often associated with the computer, and computer systems world.

Embracew Your Geekness Day 2014

A geek is usually formal, studious and into his technical world, often to the exclusion of all else. A geek is closely related to a “Nerd”. A nerd however, may or may not possess technical expertise.

Some people view the term “Geek” with a negative connotation. Are they jealous of your knowledge and skills, perhaps? We certainly think so.

Enjoy Embrace Your Geekness Day to the fullest. Spend plenty of time with your computer. Talk computer lingo and jargon. If you are a geek, stand tall and proud. Isn’t it great to be so brilliant and gifted!?

FYI: The Origin of Embrace Your Geekness Day: Believe it or not, Embrace Your Geekness Day is a copyrighted holiday created for fun and for profit by the good folks at Wellcat Holidays

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Feast Your Eyes: Floating Pies

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Source: Library of Congress
July 3, 2014 by Kristi Finefield

The following is a guest post by Jan Grenci, Reference Specialist – Posters, Prints and Photographs Division.

If you like history and you like pie, this poster could easily become one of your favorites. When Emanuel Leutze finished painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” in 1851 he probably never imagined his work being adapted for an advertisement. In 1947, the Lloyd J. Harriss Pie Company did just that.

Lloyd J. Harriss Pies. Poster by Rocco Navigato, 1947.

Rocco Navigato designed this advertising poster with slices of cherry pie taking the place of the chunks of ice floating in the Delaware River. Navigato was a Chicago-based graphic designer. From the mid 1930s to the mid 1940s, he worked for the Illinois Federal Art Project, a part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), as an administrator and on the Index of American Design.

Take a look at this reproduction of Leutze’s painting to see how closely Navigato followed the original.

Washington crossing the Delaware. Photo of a painting by Emanuel Leutze. Detroit Publishing Company, c1907.

In my mind, the only possible improvement Navigato could have made on his clever design would be scoops of vanilla ice cream on each slice – a culinary reference to Leutze’s chunks of ice. Comparing the two works, I cannot tell a lie, I prefer the one with cherry pie!

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Anything to Get the Shot: Volcanic Visuals

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Source: Library of Congress
By Kristi Finefield

Some photographers’ willingness to do anything to get the shot came to mind when I saw this 1908 photo. Clearly, the man holding this large camera (imagine running with that in hand!) was determined to capture what is likely a billowing cloud of volcanic ash. Taken long before the benefit of zoom lenses, both the man in the photo and the person who is capturing this scene had to get closer than was likely comfortable. We can only hope he’s further away than he appears to be at first glance!

Man holding large camera photographing a cataclysmic event, 1908


While the collections include many other photographs of volcanoes erupting and the aftermath, it’s not nearly as common to get a window on what it takes to capture such an image.  This 1910 photograph shows a cinematographer filming Mount Etna erupting from a rather steep hillside, while a photographer stands behind him. perhaps waiting his turn.

Photographers on hillside photographing Mt. Etna eruption. Photo by Bain News Service, 1910

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Feast Your Eyes: Fruit Forever Fresh in Still Life

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Source: Library of Congress
By: Kristi Finefeld

Currier and Ives was a successful American printmaking firm headed by Nathaniel Currier (1813–1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824–1895)

The following is a guest post by Martha H. Kennedy, Curator of Popular & Applied Graphic Arts, Prints and Photographs Division.

The vibrant colors and massive watermelon in this hand-colored lithograph first caught my eye. Tucked around, beside, and below the melon are rosy apples, golden pears, peaches, plums, blackberries, a cantaloupe, and dark and light grapes, that collectively form a luscious, full-to-the-frame still life.

P&P holds a larger variation dated 1859 with the same title and nearly identical composition that also includes a pineapple as well as another partly hidden cantaloupe. Though not hand-colored, this lithograph is enhanced by yellow-beige from an additional tint stone used in its production. Unknown artists created these prints for Currier & Ives, one of the leading publishers of popular prints that adorned many American homes in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Garden Orchard and Vine (1867) by Fanny Palmer (Flora Frances Bond Palmer, 1812-1876),

The same selection of fruits is depicted in a closely similar style in Garden Orchard and Vine (1867) by Fanny Palmer (Flora Frances Bond Palmer, 1812-1876), one of Currier & Ives’s most prolific, talented artists. Her composition varies a little from the other two, but note the detailed drawing of leaves also used as framing elements and the twining tendrils seen in all three. Each print also includes an insect, possibly symbolic of decay as part of the cycle of life.

Garden Orchard and Vine Currier & Ives published in 1887

Currier & Ives published many fruit and other still life subjects to satisfy their middle class clientele’s taste for decorative prints inspired by European and American still life paintings. To me, these prints celebrate the abundant variety of produce available in America—and keep the fruit looking fresh and tempting forever!

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Richard Morris Hunt: Exploring the Man and the Legacy

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June 5, 2014 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

 

Elizabeth Terry Rose with Richard Morris Hunt drawings. Photo by Dan Rose, 2014.

While reading Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City about events in 1890s Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition, I became intrigued by the glimpses Larson provided of architect Richard Morris Hunt, one of the contributors to the exposition’s monumental design.

Dorsheimer-Busk house, Newport, Rhode Island, designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Drawing, ca. 1890.

Richard Morris Hunt has become something of a household name around the Prints and Photographs Division. Curious to learn more about him, I spoke with Elizabeth Terry Rose, a member of our reference staff. Elizabeth has been helping researchers work with Hunt’s drawings, photos, and his library of books in the American Institute of Architects/American Architectural Foundation Collection. Along the way, she has been gaining familiarity with the man and his legacy.

Barbara: Can you say a little bit about Richard Morris Hunt and why he was so crucial to the development of American architectural practice?

Elizabeth: Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895) had a great influence on architectural design and the practice of architecture in theUnited States. Through his own tremendous career success and commitment to education, he became a leader in establishing architecture as a profession. He co-founded the American Institute of Architects and inspired the development of academic architectural training. Those who followed him became America’s first architecture professors.

 

Seventh Regiment Memorial, New York City, designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Drawing, before 1874.

 

Hunt was the first American to study at the rigorous École des Beaux-Arts inParis, which allowed him to pair the beauty of oldEuropewith the latest ideas in technology and technique.

He also learned through experience. Early in his practice, Hunt became involved in a major court case and defended the right of architects to be paid for their designs. So he was a gifted artist, a technician, and a businessman.

Hunt is known for his grand architecture, which elevated American culture and gave his wealthy clients status as an elegant new “gentry.”

His generosity and determination in sharing the design source materials he collected also elevated the profession of architecture. With Hunt as a role model, with the formalization of architectural education, and with the 1857 establishment of the AIA, the profession developed in stature.

Barbara: How can people learn more about Hunt and his influence?

Elizabeth: Our online introduction to Hunt is a great place to start. It summarizes how Hunt’s life and glittering career allowed him to achieve his professional ambitions. From there, one can continue learning through the recommended books and articles. I’ve studied many works about Hunt and found those listed to be particularly helpful in understanding how influential he was.

The Prints & Photographs Division is also pleased to share a recently digitized resource–an unpublished biography of Richard Morris Hunt written by his widow Catherine Clinton Howland Hunt sometime between his death in 1895 and her death in 1909. We have scanned the more than 500 delicate pages of typewritten manuscript, every last word or smudge, as well as the evocative personal photos and other illustrations, creating PDF files that anyone can use. This is Mrs. Hunt’s proud perspective on her husband’s momentous career.

Barbara: How can researchers find out what else is in the AIA/AAF collection and come view the material?

Elizabeth: Hunt’s reference library and his own designs became the core of the American Institute of Architects/American Architectural Foundation (AIA/AAF) Collection, which was donated to the Library of Congress in 2010. An estimated 160,000 drawings, 30,000 photographs, and hundreds of rare illustrated books have enhanced our rich existing holdings of millions of architectural documents. Hunt’s archive is being prepared first for service by appointment, and the work of other creators will follow.

Researchers interested in coming to the Library of Congress to do primary source research in the AIA/AAF collection should first write to our Ask a Librarian service.  Our dedicated team is still inventorying this vast collection, so there isn’t yet a comprehensive listing to offer online.

Tell us about your research and what particular items you are hoping to find in the collection. We’ll respond with information and, if needed, proposed dates for an appointment. Please contact us well in advance of when you hope to make a visit. Because of the complexity of the collection and the many fragile materials it includes, we provide one-on-one service to those who need to view originals. Appointments fill quickly and steadily.

Keep in mind that other institutions, such as Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, the Preservation Society of Newport County, the Biltmore Estate, and other organizations related to the buildings that Hunt designed may also have relevant materials.

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Calling All House Detectives: Can You Name These Buildings?

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Source: Library of Congress
May 27, 2014 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Gay Colyer, Digital Library Specialist, Prints & Photographs Division

Buckingham County, Davidson House Virginia. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1933.

We need your help to identify 68 photos of historic structures. They’re posted in a Flickr album called “Mystery Houses,” so that it’s easy to add your notes.* The photographer, Frances Benjamin Johnston, did leave a basic clue for each image—the state and county name. So much more could be said, though, about these intriguing buildings.

Natchez vicinity, Mississippi. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1938.

Losing track of the building names might sound like a big oversight for an architectural photographer. But Miss Johnston took more than 7,000 photos of 1,700 structures for her impressive Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South. To complete the valuable work she did in the 1920s-1940s, we’re calling for help from observers “in the field.

House designed by Palmer Lamdin, Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1926.

Every building has a story.  Part of the story is the structure itself:  where was it built, and for what purpose? And then there are the people who called the building their home. Who were they, and how were they known in the community? Please help us reveal more of the story!

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Games on the Go – Freeze Frame on a Moment in Time

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Mah-Jong at bathing beach. Photo by National Photo Company, June 20, 1924

Source: Library of Congress
Caught Our Eyes: May 7, 2014 by Kristi Finefield

Clearly the ladies below are determined to get in their game of Mah-Jongg! A photographer for the National Photo Company snapped a photo of this inventive method of taking a game on the go while still enjoying a cooling dip in the water:

A recent blog post about board games focused on the games themselves, so it seems fitting to turn to images of people playing games. As shown by the bathing beauties above, it sometimes requires a bit of ingenuity to take a game on the road.

NYC boys playing checkers in the street circa 1915.

This group of young boys in a Bain News Service photograph only needed a piece of chalk and their game pieces to create their impromptu game of checkers on a New York City sidewalk. All the world’s a game board, it would seem!

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George Washington and the Inaugural Inauguration

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Washington delivering his inaugural address April 1789, in the old city hall, New-York. Engraving by H.S. Sadd after a painting by T.H. Matteson, 1849.

Source: Library of Congress
By Barbara Orbach Natanson

George Washington delivered the country’s first inaugural address 225 years ago on April 30th, 1789. Just as the legends pertaining to Washington have grown and persisted since his lifetime, so has the iconography. Throughout the years, artists have provided their own conceptions of the first presidential inauguration, as in this print published in 1849.

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The Importance of Back-Ups

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We recently read the sad story of a wedding photographer having their computer stolen, which had the only copy of three couples wedding photos on it.

It’s very sad for the couples, and totally unprofessional of the photographer to have only one copy of such important images, which should have been backed up.

The problem is that every computer and storage device fails eventually, even brand new drives. And cloud storage firms are vulnerable to hackers.

For stable, reliable, high capacity, long life data storage, MAM-A Inc. has developed Gold Archive Grade, recordable DVD media and Gold Archive Grade, recordable CD media.

MAM-A – The Gold Standard in Archiving
Gold Archive DVD-R/+R

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Klondike Girl

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Source: Library of Congress
By Jeff Bridgers

This curious picture of a woman mountaineer recently caught my eye as I happened upon it in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. My first thought was: “What is the Wicked Witch of the West doing traversing a high mountain pass in the Yukon Territory?” But, this playful impression was soon supplanted by two more germane questions: “Who was Esther Lyons?” and “Why is her likeness superimposed on this scene?”

I didn’t have to look too far for answers, as a “Summary” provided in the catalog record explains that the “Photograph shows the actress Esther Lyons inserted into a picture of Chilkoot Pass. Although Lyons wrote a series of articles about the expedition she claimed to have taken, and lectured about it for the rest of her life, later research indicated there is no evidence of her participation in the expedition and that, in fact, she could not have been on the expedition at that time.” But, why did she bother?

I was intrigued when I noticed that there are three more similar scenes “documenting”  Lyons’ participation in this Yukon expedition.  A cataloger’s “Note” in the Group Record  provides further specifics: ”Actress Esther Lyons (1864-1938) used this photograph to illustrate her 1898 series of articles in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly describing her participation in the 1894 trip.

The original photographs appear without Lyons in [Veazie] Wilson’s Yukon Gold Fields Guide (1895) and in Glimpses of Alaska (1897). Research has indicated that Lyons was acting in the East and Mid-west during the Wilson expedition. Nevertheless, she continued to lecture about the trip for the rest of her life.” (See Melanie G. Myers’ article on “The Mystery of Ester Lyons, the ‘Klondike Girl’” cited in “Learn More” below.)

To our contemporary eyes exposed to countless images and trained to observe trickery and fakery in pictures, these late 19th century photographs appear obviously to have been manipulated. But, one wonders if viewers over one hundred years ago might have been less skeptical than our jaded 21st century sensibility?

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Eadweard Muybridge: Birth of a Photographic Pioneer

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Animal locomotion – 16 frames of racehorse “Annie G.” galloping. Collotype, copyrighted by Eadweard Muybridge, 1887.

Source: Library of Congress
By:Kristi Finefield

This month we mark the birth of British photographer, inventor and innovator Eadweard Muybridge. Born April 9, 1830, Muybridge was one of the early pioneers of photography, whose work documenting the movements of animals and humans continues to inform and influence today.

What the human eye could not capture at the time, Muybridge’s series of cameras, often operating on timers, could. And so, viewers of the late 19th century were able to see in a sequence of photos every step taken by a horse at full gallop, the sleek movements of a cat running and each flap of the wings of a bird in flight. Imagine if you were seeing these actions frozen on film for the first time:

In 1879, Muybridge developed a device he called the Zoopraxiscope to use for presentations.  One inserted a disc with images around the edge into the device, which rotated and projected the images onto a screen. The discs were usually painted glass based on Muybridge’s photographs. The effect was to give the audience an impression of movement, bringing Muybridge’s work to life.

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What is an Archive?

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Source: Wikipedia

An archive is an accumulation of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization’s lifetime, and are kept to show the function of that person or organization.

Professional archivists and historians generally understand archives to be records that have been naturally and necessarily generated as a product of regular legal, commercial, administrative or social activities. They have been metaphorically defined as “the secretions of an organism”,and are distinguished from documents that have been consciously written or created to communicate a particular message to posterity.

In general, archives consist of records that have been selected for permanent or long-term preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value. Archival records are normally unpublished and almost always unique, unlike books or magazines for which many identical copies exist. This means that archives are quite distinct from libraries with regard to their functions and organization, although archival collections can often be found within library buildings.

A person who works in archives is called an archivist. The study and practice of organizing, preserving, and providing access to information and materials in archives is called archival science. The physical place of storage can be referred to as an archives, or repository.

When referring to historical records or the places they are kept, the plural form archives is chiefly used. The computing use of the term ‘archive’ should not be confused with the record-keeping meaning of the term.

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Take an Active Role in Your Digital Archiving

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Source: Library of Congress

When archiving your personal digital collections it’s important to be organized, but really, any system of organization that makes sense to you is fine.

You should save copies in different places and manage your collections.
Most institutions replicate their digital collections in a separate geographic location far away from the source collection.

In the event of a disaster, the distant, replicated collection will be safe, intact, and accessible, backed on a 24k disc drive.

Similarly, personal files should be backed up in separate locations on at least two different types of storage devices. For example, save a copy on a backup drive and a copy on CD or on a flash drive or in online storage. Diversity in storage formats is important because no storage device is 100% reliable.

Professional photographers who rely on digital files for their income have what they call the “3 – 3 – 1 rule”:

1. Make 3 copies.
2. Save at least 2 onto different types of storage media.
Save 1 in a different location from where you live.
3. And there is no set frequency of how often to back up, though the ore often the better.
than any other recording media available today.

Taking an active role with personal digital collections will keep them safely preserved and accessible; ignore them and the collections may become inaccessible. It it that simple.

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Library of Congress Commitment to Digital Archiving

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Source: Library of Congress

At the Library of Congress we continue to explore collaboration with public libraries on ways to help spread information. We will keep the drumbeat steady and consistent to help ensure that the idea of personal archiving becomes an unremarkable part of life, second nature. We are firm in our conviction that people should have a basic knowledge of how to take care of their digital stuff.

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Personal Digital Archiving – Potential Loss

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Obsolete hardware and softwareSource: The Library of Congress

By Mike Ashenfelder

Your digital documentation (high-res images, bios, statements, CV, exhibit photos, etc) is probably one of he most valuable things you own. Yet, most people I know do not have a backup plan in case something terribly wrong happens to their computer.

Think about it, you probably have high-res images of works you no longer have access to anymore. The same way, probably most photographs of your openings only exist in digital format. Not to mention all the contacts you have gathered over the years.  All that important information can be gone with one bad day.  I have seen people loose all their records when a laptop is stolen or a hard drive dies out.

To me, that information is as valuable as gold. So, why not protect it and have a backup plan?  In a digital age where most documentation exists only in digital form, you need a digital backup plan.  External drives are one way of doing so. You can also burn CDs or DVDs or use cloud-based backup solutions. Some people are using Dropbox. Although, I am not always confident with free service that can change their customer agreements or just go out of business without any given notice.

Most people already know that they should back up their files. Like flossing or exercising, they know it is a good practice. But despite their good intentions, they may or may not actually do anything about it. It is usually a task put off until “later”. The best that libraries can do is explain digital archiving, explain how easy it is to safely archive personal digital material, and stress the consequences of inaction and the threat of potential loss of valuable digital possessions.

We can “store and ignore” physical items such as books, paper photos, and documents under optimized conditions for years and expect that we can access them any time. The key word is expect. But “store and ignore” does not work with digital files such as audio, video, photos, and email because they are dependent on hardware and software to make them work. If either hardware or software in ignored for a significant length of time, it becomes obsolete, and the digital file will become difficult to access. It essentially becomes trapped.

Software makes the files accessible, and the hardware (the storage medium) is the container in which the files reside. Each storage medium has vulnerabilities and a limited lifespan. External hard drives can be dropped and damaged. In general, the life of storage media is cut short by at least three factors:

Lack of durability
Obsolesce
Usage and handling (the more often a storage device is handled, the greater the possibility it will fail.

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Personal Digital Archiving 2014

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Mike Ashenfelder

By Mike Ashenfelder

Digital preservation is a familiar issue among the world’s leading cultural institutions. But despite over a decade of institutional success in preserving digital files and collections, most of the general public, the largest group of digital-file stakeholders in the world are unaware of what digital preservation or personal digital archiving is or why they should care. Today, most people, young and old, have some sort of digital files to preserve digital photographs are the most common. They need to know that their digital stuff is at risk of being lost unless they do something about it.

The Library of Congress is trying to remedy that by reaching out to partner with public libraries and other local institutions to teach the public about personal digital archives.

The Library is firmly rooted in digital preservation and has been building up its expertise since the mid-1990s with the American memory Project. But the Library’s true digital preservation work began in 2000 when it helped found the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. its goal was and is to foster digital preservation research, collaboration, and standardization among government agencies, cultural institutions, and other stakeholders.

This week we will delve deeper into the work of the Library of Congress’s to teach preservation to everyone in subsequent blogs.

Watch this space.

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A Look Back at Board Games

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The mansion of happiness, an instructive, moral & entertaining amusement. Lithograph published by B. W. Thayer & Co., 1843

Source: Library of Congress
By Kristi Finefield

Like many kids – and lots of adults – I love playing board games. I’ve spent many an hour rolling dice and moving around a board in a race against my opponents to either the finish line or to some other goal, like accumulating the most wealth or properties. But I have not yet tried to reach The Mansion of Happiness or take The Road to Washington, or win the New Game of the Steeple Chase.

The road to Washington. Chromolithograph copyrighted by Jasper H. Singer, 1884

These are also board games, though of a much earlier era, and their lively game boards are part of the Prints and Photographs Division’s collections at the Library of Congress.

Take a look at the 1843 game board for The Mansion of Happiness: An Instructive, Moral & Entertaining Amusement, which was one of the first board games ever published in the United States. Click the image to access larger digital files:

The game leads players through a series of virtues, vices, rewards, and punishments. As you can guess, the vices set you back and the virtues let you move forward to the ultimate goal: the Mansion of Happiness.

From the instructions for the game: Rule 8: Whoever gets into the ROAD TO FOLLY must return to PRUDENCE while Rule 3 instructs those with HONESTY or SINCERITY to advance six spaces forward. Try your hand at this game by downloading the original instructions (below). This game was played with a teetotum, a numbered spinning top, but can easily be played with a die today.

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Althea Gibson Points the Way

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Althea Gibson, U.S. and Wimbledon tennis champion, gives some pointers on the game which has brought her international fame... Photo by Ed. Ford, 1957

Source: Library of Congress
By Barbara Orbach Natanson

I admire this photograph of Althea Gibson—and the notable woman it depicts–for several reasons. A news photo from our New, it shows Gibson at a tennis clinic reportedly attended by 500 students atMidwoodHigh School.

Tennis racket in hand, index finger extended, Gibson is literally giving pointers to the group of students. By 1957, when the World Telegram & Sun staff photographer shot the photo, she was in a prime position to do so. She had wonWimbledon and the U.S. Nationals earlier in the year, after having dominated at the French Open the previous year.

Gibson’s success on the court is impressive in its own right, but she is also credited with breaking new ground for black athletes in the world of international tennis. And tennis was not her only sport. Although her golf clubs are not visible here, by the early 1960s she became the first black player to compete on the women’s professional golf tour. (I understand she was also a talented singer and saxophonist—truly a Renaissance woman!)

Why else do I admire the photograph? Because, with Gibson’s strong profile in the foreground and the watching girls behind her, it suggests how a strong role model can inspire succeeding generations. In 1991, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognized Althea Gibson with the Theodore Roosevelt Award, its highest honor for individual athletes. The first woman ever to receive the award, Gibson was cited for her “significant contributions to expanding opportunities for women and minorities through sports.”

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Friends Don’t let Friends Go Without A Backup

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We’ve created more information in the last two years than in the entirety of recorded history. That’s a lot of photos, memories, and important projects to lose.

Protect your legacy and backup your data. Take the pledge and tell your friends to back up their data.

Go to www.worldbackupday.com

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What Would you do if you Lost Everything?

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If anything happened to your phone, computer or tablet, your important documents and memories could be lost forever.

Backup your files on March 31st to make sure you never lose anything that’s important to you.

Take the pledge and tell your friends to back up their data. Go to www.worldbackupday.com

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MAM-A Exceeds Expectations for Archival Storage of Critical Data

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MAM-A prides itself on the high, professional quality of our media and to make sure you have the best experiences with playback and archiving.

Our MAM gold CD-R is generally respected as being the best archive grade recordable media available. It works equally as well for images in any photo format, music, text or data — it’s all just zeros and ones to the CD or computer. We are very involved in the photo market and our media is in use in 80% of the photo developing labs that offer our gold media as the “digital negative” for their customers’ photos.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

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Archival Photos: A Leaning Lighthouse

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Northeast View with Lighthouse Keeper’s Dwelling in Background, 275 Degrees off North – Cape Saint George Lighthouse, Cape St. George, Apalachicola, Franklin County, FL. Photograph by Tom Baird, 1998.

Source: Library of Congress

March 6, 2014 by Barbara Orbach Natanson
We caught sight of this photo in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) documentation for the Cape Saint George Lighthouse, Cape St. George,Apalachicola, Franklin County, Florida.

This 1852 lighthouse caught our eye because it’s at such an angle! (275 degrees off north).  This November 1998 photo shows the lighthouse soon after Hurricane Georges hit it; further damaged by erosion and pounding waves, it  finally toppled on October 21, 2005.

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How To Digitally Distribute Your Album

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Source¨About.com

Selling Your Music on iTunes

As an independent artist, you’ll probably be very familiar with the fact that digital downloading is huge — and you’re probably wondering how to get your cut of the action! And it’s not just illegal downloading taking a huge bite out of traditional sales — legal downloading services such as iTunes, eMusic, Spotify, and Rhapsody have created a huge opportunity for major and independent labels alike: the ability to sell your music to a large, diverse market, with little to no overhead costs.

At around $1 per song, $10 per album, these services represent a great way to get your music distributed to the masses. However, as an independent artist, getting your music digitally distributed on the big services may seem like an impossible task — until now!

Need recording advice for a small space? Visit our guide to Dorm Room Recording!

Digital or Traditional?

While it may be tempting to go the all-digital route and avoid the printing costs of a CD, it’s also important to understand that the market is still there for CD sales, especially independent musicians. The numbers tip towards downloads, but till, an estimated 66% of people still prefer physical CDs.

You’ll still want to consider retaining the option to sell CDs — especially at your shows. Most artists see CD sales at their merch tables, even if they’re not doing so great in local CD stores. Before making a decision on which way to go exclusively, consider the benefits of doing both, especially if you have a budget to do so.

Want to find out how to get your music on Spotify? Here’s a guide to selling & streaming your music on Spotify.

Getting Your Release Ready – Mastering & Artwork

As an independent artist, you’ll need to make sure your release is up to commercial standards before releasing it digitally. By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the process of mastering — evening out the dynamics and maximizing the volume of your recording. Make sure that, whether you’re doing the mastering yourself or hiring an engineer to do it for you, that your final product sounds it’s best. Remember, you’ll be on an even playing field (well, almost) to the big, major-label acts when you’re being digitally distributed, so make your release stand out as best you can.

You’ll also need to make sure you have complete artwork to submit, along with the complete track credits. Remember, none of the online services will post your music without artwork.

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About the Library of Congress

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The Library of Congress is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress, but which is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States.

The Library’s primary mission is researching inquiries made by members of Congress through the establishment of a “Congressional Research Service“, established 1914. Although it is open to the public, only high-ranking government officials may check out books and materials. The Library promotes literacy and American literature through projects such as the American Folklife CenterAmerican MemoryCenter for the Bookand Poet Laureate.

The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

The Library’s mission is to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.

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Anatomy of a Web Archive

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Source: The Signal Digital Preservation

By Bill LeFurgy

The following is a guest post by Nicholas Taylor, Web Archiving Service Manager for Stanford University Libraries.

I’m inclined to blame the semantic flexibility of the word “archive” for the fact that someone with no previous exposure to web archives might variously suppose that they are: the result of saving web pages from the browser, institutions acting as repositories for web resources, a navigational feature of some websites allowing for browsing of past content, online storage platforms imagined to be more durable than the web itself, or, simply, “the Wayback Machine.” For as many policies and practices guide cultural heritage institutions’ approaches to web archiving, however, the “web archives” that they create and preserve are remarkably consistent.

What are web archives, exactly?

WARC, WestAfricanResearchCenter, by Robin, on Flickr
At the most basic level, web archives are one of two closely-related container file formats for web content: the Web Archive Container format  or its precursor, the ARchive Container format. A quick perusal of the data formats used by the international web archiving community shows a strong predominance  of WARC and/or ARC. The ratification of WARC as an ISO standard in 2009 made it an even more attractive preservation format, though both WARC and ARC had been de-facto standards since well before then. First used in 1996, the ARC format is more specifically described  by the sustainability of digital formats website as the “Internet Archive ARC file format”, a testament both to the out-sized contribution of the Internet Archive to the web archiving field as well as the recentness of the community’s broadening membership.

Anatomically, a WARC or ARC file can be thought of as a single document made up of a series of concatenated records. For the WARC format, these records can be one of eight different types, the most predictable of which represents an archived resource (e.g., html, JavaScript, image, video, Flash, etc.) retrieved from the web. Examples of other record types include crawler characteristics, resource capture details, pointers to previously-captured content  (i.e., when crawler-based content de-duplication is enabled), alternate formats for previously-captured content (e.g., format obsolescence use case), and resources spanning multiple WARC files. Aside from the field designating the record type, there are three other mandatory fields found in the header of every WARC record: a record identifier, the record body size, and a time-stamp.

This extensive technical metadata is what distinguishes a web archive from, say, a copy of a web page. Aside from testifying to the provenance and facilitating temporal browsing of the archived data, the variety and ubiquity of record headers also creates intriguing opportunities for metadata extraction and analysis.

Lego Bin, by Josh Hallett, on Flickr
As for the archived resources themselves, objects from different parts of the same website or multiple websites may be placed at random in one or more WARC files. The arbitrary packaging of harvested content facilitates parallelization of crawling and efficiencies in storing assets common to multiple sites (e.g., JavaScript libraries) but also explains the relatively slower load times of sites in the Wayback Machine; every single object that makes up the page must be unpacked from an arbitrary offset in many different files.

If you want to see for yourself, an appendix to the draft WARC specification contains examples of each of the WARC record types, including archived resources. Internet Archive also provides a set of test WARC files for download. Since even archived binary data is stored as (Base 60- encoded)ASCII text, the files are surprisingly legible once unzipped and opened in a text editor. It’s not as seamless a way to navigate the past web as, say, Wayback Machine or Memento, but it will give a deeper understanding of the well-considered and widely-used data structure that makes those technologies work.

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Internet Archive = Old School Music Bliss

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Duke Ellington Album Cover

By: Eric Din 

One of my personal faves of the music blogs I manage is Public Domain 4U. The musical content is superb — great old recordings of blues, jazz, folk and classical gems, some famous and some not so much. All of the mp3s there are hosted at the Internet Archive. With their vast and rapidly growing sea of content, the Archive encourages folks to help curate their media into meaningful collections the public can easily access and enjoy. Click the latest post — right now it’s Duke Ellington’s “Jubilee Stomp” — the music will start and then the site will flip through the posts automatically so you can listen to all the content in one click if you want to, and scan the posts as they roll by.

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Tips for De-cluttering Your CD and DVDs Collection.

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Source: Home Storage Solutions

Decluttering your CD and DVDs might be a challenge but most likely either be very easy and quick for you. For some, however it may be something that will take you a fair amount of time over the course of weeks to accomplish.

The reason for this is that I’ve found people are either huge collectors of music and/or movies, or they don’t own many discs at all. There doesn’t seem to be much in between.

In addition, this is not a challenge you can do on your own for your whole family. Instead, all family members need to be involved, at least in the decluttering stage, since no one wants their music or movies thrown out without their say so (no matter how much you may personally not like them!)

Once you’ve got everything gathered together the next step in the CD and DVD is to declutter your music and movie collections.

We seriously consider getting rid of anything we have not watched or listened to within the last year. You can either donate or sell your old CDs and DVDs, or pass them onto friends and family.

If you notice you have to declutter lots of these discs, you may also want to consider renting in the future, or buying digitally, instead of purchasing new discs, to keep from developing so much of this clutter.

Another idea is to use a streaming program, such as Netflix, to keep this clutter at bay in the future.

Organize CDs in your collection that you’re keeping.

There are many ways to organize your CDs, including:

* Alphabetically

* Genre

* Kid versus adult; or

* Mood (high energy, relaxing, etc.)

There is really no right way, but instead it depends on the size of your collection and what makes intuitive sense to you and other family members.

However you group them, on shelves or in drawers, you may find it handy to use tabs to help you find the groupings easily when you’re looking for a particular disc. For example, above you can see A-Z tabs which work on shelves for either CDs or DVDs which are alphabetized.

If you’ve got small kids who’ve got their own CDs, I would seriously suggest separating out their music into its own storage area or organizer. (The same goes with DVDs, which I’ll discuss more below).

The reason is kids can’t organize well by many of these categories when they’re younger (three year olds can’t generally alphabetize!) and your categories will quickly get messed up and you’ll get frustrated if you keep them all together.  For both CDs and DVDs, we keep the family friendly stuff down low, and the Mom and Dad old fogey music and movies up higher, out of reach.

When going about the process of organizing your CDs (and DVDs too) a fundamental question you need to ask yourself up front is whether you will keep them in their jewel cases or not, and if not, will you keep the jewel cases in storage or throw them away?

The answers to these questions will impact how much room is needed to house your collection, and also what types of storage solutions you’ll use in your home.

There are pros and cons to about any decision you make, and I’ll list some of them I’ve encountered so you can make an informed decision.
You can keep the liner notes, and list of songs, along with the cover art, all together easily.

The cases can protect the discs from scratches better than some other storage methods, especially if you’re rough on the discs as you transport them around.

There are good reason to get rid of jewel cases They take up quite a bit more room than just the disc itself, significantly increasing the amount of space needed to store your collection of music or movies.

If you keep the cases, but not with your CDs, you’ve still got to find a place to store them. If you throw away the jewel cases and then change your mind, or decide to sell or donate the disc, it will not have its original case and perhaps not all of the liner and other information contained in the original jewel case.

The final step in the CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge is to make sure you gather up in one safe location all of your family videos and DVDs, and other such keepsakes. These shouldn’t be scattered throughout the house in several storage locations, but instead should be kept all together.

For example, they don’t make video tapes anymore, so how much longer, if at all, will they be making VCRs? Once you’ve got everything gathered together take the time to label and date (with proximity if necessary) the collection and get it roughly in chronological order.

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Longevity of Recordable CDs and DVDs

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Source: Canadian Conservation Institute

The longevity of recordable compact discs (CD-Rs) and recordable digital versatile/video discs (DVD±Rs1) is uncertain, leading to a widespread lack of trust by libraries and archives. Research studies, anecdotal information, and manufacturers’ literature suggest that the lifetime of CDs and DVDs can range from a couple of years to more than 200 years. This Note explores several of the factors that affect whether a disc fails within a short period or continues to perform well for many years.

Poorly manufactured discs (i.e. discs that do not meet standard specifications for proper function) will probably fail sooner than good-quality ones due to rapid chemical degradation or physical damage. This was a significant problem when discs were introduced (CD-Rs first appeared in the marketplace in 1991, DVD-Rs in 1997, and DVD+Rs in 2002) and for at least 2–3 years afterwards. Poor manufacturing is still a problem to some extent, either because of cost-cutting to meet competitive pricing or speedy production runs to meet high demand.

Determining if a disc is poorly manufactured is an impossible task without thorough testing, which likely would include accelerated aging. This is not feasible for most archives, libraries, and museums. In the absence of testing, discs with a recognized brand name can generally be assumed to be of good quality. Even though some large manufacturers label discs produced elsewhere with their own brand name, most have no desire to be associated with an inferior product. Information on where the disc was actually produced may be available by consulting the manufacturer and/or examining disc coding.

The base layer of a CD-R is always composed of polycarbonate. However, the dye and metal reflective layers can be composed of various materials, each with its own inherent stability. The quality of the top protective layer is also important.

The CD-R specification was designed around cyanine dye (shades of blue) and, therefore, most of the early discs used it. Azo dye (deeper blue) was introduced in 1996. However, neither of these dyes matches the stability of light-green phthalocyanine, which is very stable to light, high temperature, and high relative humidity (RH). Phthalocyanine was available in the early days of CD-R manufacture, but it was not widely used until around 2002.

The type of dye in a CD-R can sometimes be determined by transmitting light through the disc and viewing the color (see Table 1). However, the presence of a thick, dark label may make identification impossible with transmitted light. In these cases, reflective light can be used although the color of the metal reflective layer may alter the appearance of the dye color. Note also that some discs have pigmented bases, such as black or one of a variety of fluorescent colors; these colors do not indicate a different dye or metal layer than indicated in Table 1. The type of dye in a disc can also be determined by consulting the manufacturer or their literature.
A CD-player reads a disc by directing a laser light through the base and dye layers to the metal layer, which reflects it back to the player’s signal detector. If the reflective layer is altered in any way, it will not perform as expected and the disc cannot be read. The metal reflective layer in CD-Rs has generally been gold, silver, or silver alloy. Gold is very stable, so discs with a gold reflective layer are not at risk for “laser rot” (a term used to describe the corrosion of the metal layer) and hence have excellent longevity. However, silver and silver alloys are susceptible to corrosion, so CD-Rs with these kinds of reflective layers are more likely to fail, especially if they are exposed to pollutants.

The top protective layer should have good chemical resistance and be rugged enough to protect the sensitive metal layer from handling damage. If this layer is of poor quality or has not been applied evenly and completely on the disc, then early disc failure is likely. Many manufacturers specifically mention that their discs contain rugged topcoats.

A recordable DVD provides much more capacity than a recordable CD and, therefore, is often the desired format for storing information.
Recordable DVDs are composed of two individual discs, half the thickness of a CD-R, manufactured separately and then glued together. DVD±Rs can also have two information layers.

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Feast Your Eyes: Sweets in Store

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Franklin Candy Co., Washington, D.C. Photo by National Photo Company, between 1921 and 1922

Source: Library of Congress
By Kristi Finefield

The following is a guest post by Donna Collins, Photo Preservation Specialist, Prints and Photographs Division.

On Valentine’s Day, candy and other sweet treats are popular gifts. With this holiday approaching, I browsed the Prints and Photographs collections featuring shops and stands that displayed such confections. Pictured above the range of tempting locales was as varied as a sampler-style box of chocolates, nothing changes huh? The clerks of the Franklin Candy store in Washington, DC, patiently await their customers.

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Archival Photo Storage Tips

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Here’s a topic that keeps many photographers up at night: how can you be sure that the photos you are saving will be readable on computers 50 or 100 years down the road, with vastly different technology?

Will Canon, Nikon, Sony or another camera manufacturer’s proprietary RAW format still have full software support, and will the images be reproduced exactly as before when loaded?

DVD, Blu-Ray, or other removable media has been the primary method of consumer backup for quite some time. They have the advantage of being reasonably inexpensive and broadly compatible and last a lifetime of 50-100 years. It can often be difficult to tell which longevity category your media purchase falls under.

Do not assume that all writable media is created equal. There’s often a dramatic difference in longevity between one brand and another. Pay attention to the type of dyes used (blue, gold, silver, etc), to online accelerated aging tests, and to reports of issues with a particular model/batch.

The best location to store your archival photo backups is in a cool, dry place with a reasonably constant environment and minimal need for movement. If there’s a chance of humidity, be sure to seal the media in a plastic bag prior to storage.

However, unforeseen accidents such as theft and fire can occur, so any fail-proof backup strategy should make use of multiple backup locations. This could mean having a duplicate archive in a safety deposit box, at a friend or family’s household or at some remote online server.

If your internet connection is fast, backups can even be transferred regularly and systematically via FTP. Depending on the size and quantity of your photos, some even treat online photo sharing sites as backup locations. However, this is not an option for true digital negatives, such as RAW files, since they cannot be displayed as is.

Try and stick to a regular backup schedule with an easy to follow naming convention. After all, if you cannot find a photo once it’s been archived then it’s as good as lost.

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Caught Our Eyes: A Well Framed Porch

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Manville, New Jersey, showing series of identical houses. Photo by Carl Mydans, 1936

 

Source: Library of Congress
By Barbara Orbach Natanson

Reference specialist Jan Grenci pointed out this photo, which Farm Security Administration photographer Carl Mydans took in February 1936.

Although February is not a month when people in the mid-Atlantic region generally get to enjoy their porches (as we can testify), Jan noted Carl Mydans’ keen eye for a photographic opportunity:

Notice the way the porches frame each other, seemingly to infinity. I also like the way the porch lights line up to direct your eye through the photo. Carl Mydans sure knew how to frame an image!

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Caught Our Eyes: World War l Train

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Austrian armored train in Galicia. Photo by Bain News Service, between 1914 and 1915.

Source: Library of Congress
By Barbara Orbach Natanson

Reference staff member Jon Eaker spotted this photograph several months ago in the Bain News Service photographs.

Jon, who has looked at many a World War I photograph in our holdings, remarked:
”It may be my favorite of our WWI pictures. This beast symbolizes how the introduction of widespread mechanization changed warfare. It looks like plate metal was riveted over a train and they even threw a gun in the front for good measure. The angle of the photo is perfect so you can see the full length of it.

Another thing that caught my eye: the ironic spelling mistake that appeared in the caption that the news service wrote on the glass plate. Surely the captioner wasn’t intending to coin a new shorthand term for a train originating in Austria?”

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Why Facebook Thinks Blu-ray Discs Are Perfect for the Data Center

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Inside Facebook's Blu-ray storage rack.

Source: arstechnicia.com
By:
  

Cheap storage with a 50-year life span? Facebook spreads the gospel of Blu-ray. Facebook’s hardware guru thinks Blu-ray discs might have a brighter future in the data center than in consumers’ homes.

We wrote last week about how Facebook has developed a prototype storage system that uses 10,000 Blu-ray discs to hold a petabyte of data. After that story posted we were able to talk to Frank Frankovsky, VP of hardware design and supply chain operations at Facebook, to find out just why he’s so excited about the project.

While the Blu-ray storage system is just a prototype, Facebook hopes to get it in production sometime this year and share the design with the Open Comute Project community to spur adoption elsewhere. If Facebook and others start using Blu-ray discs for long-term archival storage, Blu-ray manufacturers will see a new market opportunity and pursue it, Frankovsky said.

“I think that the media suppliers, especially after all of the community excitement around it with Open Compute, they see a huge opportunity here,” Frankovsky said. “Economies of scale could take over really quickly, and they could start producing those discs for the Open Compute community at much lower cost than they do today because, believe it or not, this is one of those areas where really high-capacity Blu-ray discs are in relatively low demand on the consumer side and in relatively high demand on the data center side.”

Facebook VP Jay Parikh discusses cold storage and Blu-rays.

Facebook intends to use Blu-rays for “cold storage,” data that can’t be thrown out but may not be accessed for many years, if at all. The best near-term use case is backups of photos and videos, but the discs could also be used for any data that Facebook is required by law to retain for a certain number of years.

Facebook’s cold storage today is entirely on spinning disks. The prototype Blu-ray system is estimated to be 50 percent cheaper than the disk-based cold storage, and 80 percent more energy efficient.

The discs are housed in a fancy rack that holds 24 magazines, with each magazine holding 36 cartridges, and each cartridge holding 12 Blu-ray discs, for a total of 10,368. A robot lives and works inside the rack.

“We have a robotic picker that will go to a specified magazine and then locate a cartridge, it will unlock that cartridge, removing the drawer, and a picker will go down and is able to select a specified disc in that 12-disc arrangement,” Facebook’s Giovanni Coglitore said.

When the robot isn’t working, the rack consumes virtually no power, he said.

“Each disc is certified for 50 years of operation; you can actually get some discs that are certified for 1,000 years of reliability,” Coglitore said. “Because the media is separate from the drives, if you ever have a drive issue, you simply replace the drive, and you won’t have to replace the data within a disc. From a reliability and operational standpoint it’s quite elegant and efficient.”

Facebook is careful in how it’s rolling out the optical storage system to production.

As Facebook does with other new technologies, “we’ll start it out in what we call shadow testing,” Frankovsky said. “Until it’s proven, we’ll take relatively small quantities, and we’ll just mirror data from what’s in production and shadow that data to the optical rack.”

While Blu-ray can’t match the performance of hard disk drives, that isn’t as important for cold storage. Frankovsky also said the Blu-ray system will be “far superior to tape” because of its durability and performance.

It could also provide benefits in recovery from failure. Frankovsky said Facebook uses erasure encoding, which “distributes a file across multiple physical devices so that in any event of a failure of a physical device you can always recreate the file.”

With disk drives, “you need to have a relatively aggressive erasure encoding environment where you have a lot more physical spinning disks, so you can sustain multiple failures and be able to recreate the file in any situation,” Frankovsky said. Because the predictive annual failure rate for optical discs is lower, “it’s quite possible that you won’t need to over-provision how much optical capacity you have to be able to get the same level of protection with the complete file rebuild. There’s kind of a double goodness there. Bit for bit, it’s lower cost, and if we can over-provision less with optical, you can move that needle even further on the cost-saving side.”

Separately, Facebook has also considered the use of substandard flash memory for cold storage. The idea is to take “partially good NAND flash which otherwise would have been sold off as thumb drives or potentially even scrap,” Frankovsky said.

Flash storage is often thrown out by manufacturers when just a few cells have gone bad, he said. With smart enough software algorithms, “you can be cognizant of where the weak or bad cells are and write around those cells.”

The bad flash initiative isn’t as far along as the Blu-ray project. But both have progressed pretty quickly since Facebook revealed their existence last year, Frankovsky said. They could end up being important tools as data storage needs grow.

IDC predicts that by 2020 the entire “digital universe” will grow to 40,000 exabytes, or 40 trillion gigabytes.
“A large portion of that is going to be warm to cold data, and we need something better than tape and disk to store it,” Frankovsky said.
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Facebook Uses 10,000 Blue-ray Discs to Store ‘Cold’ Data

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Source: PCWorld.com
If you thought Netflix and iTunes would make optical discs a thing of the past, think again. Facebook has built a storage system from 10,000 Blu-ray discs that holds a petabyte of data and is highly energy-efficient, the company said Tuesday.
Facebook said last year that it was exploring Blu-ray for its data-center storage needs, and on Tuesday it showed a prototype system at the Open Compute Project summit meeting in San Jose, California.

It designed the system to store data that hardly ever needs to be accessed, or for so-called “cold storage.” That includes duplicates of its users’ photos and videos that Facebook keeps for backup purposes, and which it essentially wants to file away and forget.

The Blu-ray system reduces costs by 50 percent and energy use by 80 percent compared with its current cold-storage system, which uses hard disk drives, said Jay Parikh, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure engineering, in a talk at the Open Compute summit.

The company expects to be able to increase the capacity of the system to five petabytes over time, he said.

Blu-ray discs are a good option for cold storage because they cost less to buy than hard disks and there’s a lot of room for manufacturers to increase the storage density of Blu-ray, said Jason Taylor, Facebook’s director of infrastructure, in an interview. If the idea takes off, it might extend the life of the optical disc industry. “We see this as a new area of demand for the technology,”Taylor said.

The machine Facebook built is still a prototype, but it expects to start production tests later this year, he said. Blu-ray is one option for Facebook’s cold storage, but eventually it hopes to move to A low-power version of flash,Taylor said. Parikh showed the system on stage at the Open Compute summit. Outside it looks like a plain server cabinet, about 7 feet tall, but inside there’s all kinds of robotic wizardry to move the discs around. The discs are stacked in piles, and a robotic picker can quickly select a disc from a pile and move it to one of 16 burners in the system, which write data to the discs. Facebook is still deciding which parts of the design it will submit to Open Compute Project,Taylor said.

The social network set up the Open Compute Project about three years ago as a way for it to collaborate with peers to develop hardware that better suits their needs.

On Tuesday, several companies announced technologies they will contribute to the project, including Advanced Micro Devices, Seagate, Quanta and LSI. On Monday, Microsoft said it would contribute some of its cloud server designs.

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Feast Your Eyes: Today’s Storage is Tomorrow’s Dinner

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Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, Nov. 1940.

Source: Library of Congress
January 24, 2014 by Kristi Finefield

Today’s Storage is Tomorrow’s Dinner. These words, plastered across a photo of a wide array of fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, opened a 1942 filmstrip created by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

(If you never had the pleasure of watching educational filmstrips in school, here’s a quick explanation!)

Drawing from the vast collection of photographs being created for the Farm Security Administration, the USDA created filmstrips to educate the public about many topics related to agriculture. The narrative accompanying Today’s Storage is Tomorrow’s Dinner explains: “Every farm family should have plenty of good food every day in the year. The less cash, the more important it is to produce at home as much food as possible. The purpose of this film is to suggest ways of keeping home-grown food for future use.”

The lessons of this filmstrip hold true today, and the images do a wonderful job of instructing and entertaining. Enjoy a sample below, interspersed with some of the words which would be spoken over each photo in the filmstrip:

“How would you like to be invited to dinner with this family?

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So Now You Can 3D Print Replicas Of Your Very Own Baby (PHOTO)

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Source: The Huffington Post
By Emily Thomas
Using ultrasound images or pictures of your newborn, the aply named company 3D Babies  can make a life-like representation of your infant.

But the Internet seems to be divided: Is the concept creepy or cool?

“Your pregnancy with this child is a once in a lifetime experience. Recall those feelings with your own 3D Baby,” the company’s website states. The figurine is made using “the latest computer graphics and 3D printing technology.”

Buyers can customize skin tone (light, medium or dark) and choose from a range of fetal positions. Just like a real life baby, a life-size 3D baby (8 inches crown to rump) will cost you a pretty penny. In this case, $800.
The idea stemmed from two parents who wanted to cherish the memories of their pregnancy experience and share it with others.

“This is a great way to share the excitement of your new baby with family and friends. Your 3D Baby will be a treasured family remembrance of your pregnancy and new baby,” the website states.

Whether the replicas are strange or sweet it is up for debate, however. “I think it’s just uncanny to see an inanimate object that so closely resembles a living person you know intimately,” The Stir’s Adriana Velez wrote,  noting that she’s personally not a fan of the idea. Others disagree: “I think it could be quite cool….am sure as adults a lot of us would love to see what we were like at the beginnings,” a Metro UK commenter wrote.

Don’t have your own baby from which to fashion a model? Worry not: CNBC notes 3D Babies is offering figurines of little North West, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s daughter, for $250.

It should be noted that 3D Babies isn’t the first company to “immortalize infancy.” In 2012, Japanese engineering company Fasotec partnered with Parkside Hiroo Ladies Clinic in Tokyo to produce 3D replicas of fetuses by converting a MRI scan of the mother’s womb to a 3D model filled with resin.

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The Complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Consists of Approximately 20,000 Documents

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Source: The Library of Congress

The collection is organized into three “General Correspondence” series which include incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material. Most of the 20,000 items are from the 1850s through Lincoln’s presidential years, 1860-65. Treasures include Lincoln’s draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, his March 4, 1865, draft of his second Inaugural Address, and his August 23, 1864, memorandum expressing his expectation of being defeated for re-election in the upcoming presidential contest.

The Lincoln Papers are characterized by a large number of correspondents, including friends and associates fromLincoln’sSpringfield days, well-known political figures and reformers, and local people and organizations writing to their president. In its online presentation, the Abraham Lincoln Papers comprises approximately 61,000 images and 10,000 transcriptions. This project is being supported by a generous gift from Donald G. Jones, Terri L. Jones, and the Jones Family Foundation.

The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library’s National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning.

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Municipalities and Police Departments Save Records on Discs

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The Police Interview Recorder is a simple, easy to use recording system that captures interview and interrogation audio, video and notes for police, law enforcement services and other government agencies.

The file may be automatically and simultaneously recorded to a secure file server and saved onto a CD/DVD. The recordings can later be transcribed or provided to other agencies in a universal playback format.

The recorded notes serve as “bookmarks” or cue points into the recording file. The notes may later be searched to find and identify recordings files. They also eliminate the need to fast-forward or rewind through large recording files.

CDs and DVDs are generally better than floppy disks at holding data, they have a long lifespan (a DVD could easily last 50 years or more!), more capacity, and are not vulnerable to magnets.

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Flickr Commons: What’s New

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NY & Phili players John McGraw & Pat Moran Circa 1920s

Source: Library of Congress

By Barbara Orbach Natanson
The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.

More than 75 libraries, archives, and museums now participate in the Flickr Commons to make it easy for you to discover and help identify photographs with no known copyright restrictions. The pool of pictures has grown to more than 1.25 million images! As the Commons mission states, “Your contributions and knowledge make these photos even richer.”

The Library of Congress is the founding member for the Flickr Commons. As the 6th anniversary for this long-running social media community arrives on January 16th, here’s a snapshot of why the Library continues to value the Flickr Commons so highly. Adding 50 new photos each week has enriched more than 20,000 pictures with community comments that provide personal experience as well as factual biographical and geographical connections. (Numbers are rounded.)

Critical identifying information added to 5,700 catalog records at the Library
Comments in Flickr: 45,000 from 13,500 community members
Tags in Flickr: 190,000 from 4,000 members
Favorites: 17,000 photos have been selected as favorites by at least one user. Overall, our photos have been selected as favorites 275,000 times
Followers:51,000 Flickr members keep up with the Library of Congress

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How to Change Your Records Into CDs

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Source: Wikihow.com
Edited By: Ciaran W., Krystle C., Jack Herrick, Larry Lovering and 22 others

Who doesn’t love vinyl records? It seems that everybody over a certain age has a stash of them hidden away somewhere, and everybody under that certain age is trying to get their hands on that stash.

Vinyl LPs have great sound quality, and they’re amazingly durable and just plain cool. Still, they have their drawbacks: they’re not very portable–you probably don’t want to lug 100 pounds of records to a party, for example, and you can’t play them in the car–and many are not easily replaceable. Fortunately, you can solve these problems by recording your vinyl onto CDs. It can be a complicated process, but once you do it you’ll have a high-quality backup of your irreplaceable rarities. What’s more, you’ll be able to enjoy your Cat Stevens collection on the way to work.

Install recording and editing software on your computer. The standard sound recorder application that comes with most PCs will not enable you to record an LP to your hard drive. There are, however, a variety of programs that record audio, ranging from freeware to very expensive professional editing software. Some of these obviously work better than others, and some have more features, but in general you want a program that writes files directly to the hard drive and that enables you to do some minor editing of the recorded files. For a more thorough discussion of recording and editing software, including reviews, visit the external links listed in the citations, Clive Backham’s page in particular.

Determine whether you need a preamp. You will need to amplify and equalize the sound from your turntable in order to record it onto your computer. If your turntable has a built-in preamp, you should be able to plug it directly into your computer’s sound card. If you don’t have a built-in preamp, you can either plug the turntable into a stereo receiver and plug the receiver into your computer sound card, or you can purchase a preamp–you can get these at most computer, audio or electronics stores–and plug your turntable into that. Make sure you buy a preamp with “RIAA Equalization” – cheaper ones may not have this, and it is necessary for LPs made after about 1950.

Make sure you have the necessary cables and converters to connect the turntable, stereo, or preamp to the sound card.
 You may need to purchase cables–standard RCA cables, most likely–to connect all the components. Depending on the type of input and output jacks you have on your sound card, turntable, preamp and receiver, you may also need converters to allow you to connect each component to the next. Cables and converters can be purchased at most electronics or audio stores, and if you don’t know what you need simply bring in the equipment you have. In the most common case, being you already have a turntable connected to a stereo system, the only additional cable you should need is an inexpensive 3.5mm Stereo to RCA Cable to connect the receiver to the computer, which can alternately be used to play sound from your computer through your stereo system.

Connect all the components. If you are not using a preamp you’ll need to run a cable from the headphone or “audio out” jack on the turntable or stereo to the input or “line in” jack on your computer’s sound card. If you have a preamp, connect the cable from the turntable to the “line in” jack on the preamp and then connect another cable from the “audio out” jack on the preamp to the “line in” jack on the computer sound card.

Clean the LP. Obviously a clean record plays a lot better than a dirty one, and if you’re making a recording you want the vinyl to sound its best. Your best bet is to use a professional LP-cleaning machine, but these can be expensive and hard to find (you can get similar results, however, if you have a wet-dry vacuum cleaner and some cleaning solution). You can also wash records in the kitchen sink or use specially-designed brushes to clear surface dust. You want to be very careful cleaning your records, and there are more tips and warnings than can be listed here, so check out the external links for more information.

Set your recording input level. You can adjust the input level either on the stereo receiver or in the recording software, however “line” outputs on stereos are generally fixed-volume so it’s usually best to adjust the recording volume on your computer. You want to make sure that the input is loud enough so that the resulting CD isn’t significantly quieter than your other CDs. More importantly, you must ensure that the input volume isn’t too loud. If your recording level goes above 0 dB at any point, the sound quality will be distorted, so it’s important to stay below this threshold. Try to identify the peak volume (the loudest part) on the LP you wish to record. Some software programs will find the peak for you when you play the record through; otherwise, you’ll have to do a little guesswork. To prevent distortion, set the input level (from the LP) peak volume at about -3 dB.

Do a test run. Make sure your program is running, and your turntable, and receiver or preamp, are on. Start playing the record and press the “record” button in your audio software. Record only a small bit of audio to see if everything works, then adjust settings in the program and on the player accordingly. You may also want to play the entire LP to make sure there no skips.

Record the LP. Press the “record” button in your software before starting the LP. Play the album the whole way through as you transfer the music into electronic format, and stop recording only after the LP has finished playing (you can cut out the silence at the beginning and end of the recording later). Your software program may split tracks for you automatically, but if it does not, don’t worry about splitting them now.

Edit your recording. If the LP you recorded is in great condition and if your recording equipment is of high quality and is correctly configured, you may not need to do much editing at all. Probably, however, you will at least want to delete any long silences at the beginning and end of the recording, and you should also split the tracks so that you can skip from song to song on your CD. Depending on your editing software, you should also be able to take out or minimize most background noise and imperfections, and normalize the volume. The procedures for such editing vary from program to program, so it’s best to consult your software manual or help files.

Organize and burn the tracks onto a CD-R. As is the case for editing, the procedures for burning a CD vary depending on your software. Consult your manual or help files.

Pop the CD in the stereo and enjoy the music!

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Caught Our Eyes: A Frosty Morning

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Wood Cut by Bertha Lum 1920

Source: Library of Congress

By Kristi Finefield

As I made my way to work in temperatures hovering near zero degrees Fahrenheit, it was hard to think of anything except staying warm. Millions of Americans were bundled up like me, experiencing this week’s shock of unusual Arctic cold. Once I thawed out and could start to think of other things, I recalled this 1920 woodcut entitled, appropriately enough, Frost by Bertha Lum. Its stark beauty and pale colors are enough to make you shiver all over again!

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3-D Printers Come of Age

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Source: Mashable

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. 3D printing is considered distinct from traditional machining techniques (subtractive processes) which mostly rely on the removal of material by drilling, cutting etc.

3D printing is usually performed by a materials printer using digital technology. Since the start of the twenty-first century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price dropped substantially.

The technology is used in the fields of jewelry, footwear, industrial design, architecture, engineering and construction (AEC), automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, geographic information systems, civil engineering, and many others.

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making a three dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling (subtractive processes).

A 3D printer is a limited type of industrial robot that is capable of carrying out an additive process under computer control.

While 3D printing technology has been around since the 1980s, it was not until the early 2010s that the printers became widely available commercially. The first working 3D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. Since the start of the 21st century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price has dropped substantially.

The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction (AEC), industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields. Open source 3D printing could become a mass market item because domestic 3D printers can offset their capital costs by enabling consumers to avoid costs associated with purchasing common household objects.

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Does Cloud Storage Present a Security Risk?

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Cloud computing, the technology that allows software and data to be shared on the internet, is now being adopted by large companies. Cloud-based storage as a service includes inherent vulnerabilities such as companies being sold and your data going into the hands of unknown persons.

The federal government has seen 25-50 per cent savings on IT expenditure through utilization of cloud computing, similar rates to those that have been enjoyed by the private sector.

At what level do the risks associated with outsourcing some/all of your data center solutions to one or more of the ‘as-a-service, software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and cloud storage, prevent you from making the decision to move forward?”

Nearly 50% saw cloud-based solutions as having “a great deal of risk” while 33% saw “somewhat” risk. Only 12% indicated there was little risk.

Some people say that the Compact Disc has died, replaced by a digital world where files and streams are the main methods of music delivery. The only problem with that statement is that the CD is not yet deceased by a long shot, and it’s still a real tool in the belt of artists and bands everywhere. Sure, it’s rapidly diminishing in importance, but important it still is.

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Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints

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City Point, Virginia, circa. 1865.

Source: Library of Congress

About the Library of Congress’ Civil War Collection: All images are digitized. All jpegs/tiffs display outside Library of Congress.

This Library of Congress online collection provides access to about 7,000 different views and portraits made during the American Civil War (1861-1865) and its immediate aftermath.

The images represent the original glass plate negatives made under the supervision of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner as well as the photographic prints in the Civil War photographs file in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room. These negatives and prints are sometimes referred to as the Anthony-Taylor-Rand-Ordway-Eaton Collection to indicate the previous owners.

The Library purchased the negatives in 1943.
Search tip for this collection: Try putting in very few search terms, particularly when searching for people (for example, try just the person’s last name) for more information.

Many additional Civil War images are in other collections, including drawings, prints, and photograph albums to name a few.
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Feast Your Eyes: Perched Atop a Bottle of Bubbly

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Model posed wearing black pressed pleats, top hat, and ballet shoes, standing tip-toe on champagne bottle. Photo copyrighted by Ye Rose Studio, 1904.

Source:Library of Congress
By: Kristi Finefeld

Did you ring in the New Year with a glass of champagne? Just as many holidays are associated with certain festive foods, New Year’s Eve has long seen many folks around the world enjoying a taste of that fizzy drink.

This 1904 photo suggests one way to top off a bottle of bubbly, but I think I’ll stick with pouring the contents in a glass and raising it in hopes of a happy healthy New Year for all!

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Finding a Madonna – A Rare Drawing by Martín Ramírez

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December 11, 2013 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

Source: Library of Congress

The following is a guest post by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints, Prints and Photographs Division.

One of the joys of working with the Library’s vast and varied collections is the potential for making extraordinary discoveries. This is one of those stories. Please help us welcome a new treasure to the Prints & Photographs Division.

A previously unknown drawing of the Madonna by self-taught, Mexican artist Martín Ramírez was recently identified in a manuscript collection by my colleague Tracey Barton. Only about fifteen of this celebrated artist’s drawings depict the Madonna, and this image is also believed to be one of the earliest surviving examples of his work. Now beautifully conserved by Susan Peckham, the drawing will be unveiled to the public for the first time on December 12th at noon as part of the Library’s Celebration of Mexico conference.

The New York Times has described Ramírez (1895-1963) as “simply one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.” He is also called an “outsider artist” because he created his extraordinary drawings without formal schooling and outside of mainstream society. His life story is both tragic and inspiring.

Ramírez came to the United States from Jalisco,Mexico, in 1925, seeking work to support himself and his family in Mexico. After working in railroad and mining jobs in Northern California, he was hospitalized during the early 1930s and diagnosed with catatonic schizophrenia. He spent the rest of his life, until 1963, inCaliforniamental institutions. While there, he made hundreds of drawings, often working with readily available supplies. In fact, his use of “found materials” was among the clues that helped Tracey identify Ramírez as the artist when the drawing was first discovered in a recent addition to the papers of Charles and Ray Eames.

Ramírez’s Madonna engages the viewer quickly with her bright gaze and gentle smile. The artist’s handling of bright colors and repeating lines brings a sense of energy and rhythm to the composition, punctuated by the upward gesture of her arms, the downward drape of the cloth over her arms, and beetle-like cars moving southward. Ramírez was likely inspired in part by depictions of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in his home parish church in Mexico. The symbolic globe and serpent under her feet are features that appear in centuries of images of the Virgin Mary in both Europe and Mexico. The serpent, representing original sin, sometimes has an apple in its mouth, but here is shown with a small animal. He further personalized this Madonna by giving her clothing that suggests traditional Mexican dress. Ramírez’s unique, devotional image speaks eloquently of his drive to create and communicate despite enormous hardship.

The Kislak Collection curator, John Hessler, points out: “Like many of the artists, potters, scribes, writers, and painters displayed in the Exploring the Early Americas exhibition, Martín Ramírez, represents the iconography and folk traditions of the times in which he worked and follows in a long line of depictions of the Virgin Mary in the New World, beginning with the Aztec Huejotzingo Codex from 1531, also on display in the exhibition.” (View a detail of the Heujotzingo Codex in the online exhibit.)

Preserving Ramírez’s Madonna

The Library’s skilled paper conservators summarized the drawing’s physical characteristics: Eyewitness accounts of Ramirez’s creative process report that a homemade adhesive of saliva and potatoes, bread, or oatmeal was used to glue pieces of junk mail together to create a single support on which he employed conventional media such as crayons, watercolor paint, and inks, and unconventional materials such as pink matchstick heads and shoe polish to create the design. Later analysis performed by the Library’s Preservation Research and Testing Division corroborated some of these anecdotal accounts.

Stabilizing the drawing has deterred further deterioration by mending tears with nearly transparent but strong Japanese tissue adhered with wheat starch paste, filling losses with a sympathetic paper and colors to match the surrounding design, and local and overall flattening through controlled introduction of moisture. The support, now 26.5 x 41 inches, retains distortions because of the original construction and variety of papers employed.

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Tales of Football and Italian Americans: A New Book

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“Red” Harold Grange. Photo by National Photo Company, Dec. 8, 1925.

Source: Library of Congress
By Kristi Finefield

Pictures help tell stories. A new book published by the Library of Congress is full of hundreds of prints, posters, photographs and other illustrations drawn from the Library’s vast collections. The book looks back over hundreds of years of American history and tell respective stories with passion – and pictures.

Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game does just as the title suggests: it explores football in American history, from the Colonial era to today.  From backyard games to the 20th century pros, all aspects are explored – and illustrated. Players who changed the game, such as Red Grange (below), are featured as well. According to Football Nation, this photo shows Grange when his Chicago Bears were the visitors to Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on December 8, 1925.

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One In Four Cloud Providers Will Be Gone By 2015

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Source: Computerworld.com
By Patrick Thibodeau

Acquisitions will be leading cause of cloud vendor reduction.

Computerworld – LAS VEGAS — Cloud adopters face serious risk in the next two years because of the strong possibility that their provider will be acquired or forced out of business.

The research firm is predicting a major consolidation in cloud services and estimates that about 25% of the top 100 IT service providers in the infrastructure space won’t be around by 2015. “One in four vendors will be gone for whatever reason — acquisition, bankruptcy,” said William Maurer, a Gartner analyst. Most of the time, the changes will come through acquisition.

“There is real risk,” said Maurer to a packed room for his presentation at the Gartner Data Center Conference. “We’re in the phase of buyer beware with cloud,” said Michael Salvador, who attended the presentation. He is a technical solutions manager at Belden, which makes cable, connectivity and networking products. “You better do your research — there’s no safety net out there,” he said.

Concerns about risks may drive some users to large vendors, Salvador said, but smaller providers may offer better prices or some additional guarantee that a large provider may not offer. There is pressure on providers to cut costs, but Maurer told his audience to be gentle with their vendors.

“You need to make to make sure that your service providers are successful,” said Maurer. “Give them a chance to make a reasonable return on their investments, give them a chance to make some money. Don’t take all the money off the table, because if you do, you are not going to have a lot of them around.”

The standing-room-only audience was already convinced of the risks to cloud, based on their responses to an audience participation question, which recorded answers electronically.

The audience question was asked: “At what level do the risks associated with outsourcing some/all of your data center solutions to one or more of the ‘aaS’ models (meaning infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and others) prevent you from making the decision to move forward?”

Nearly 50% saw cloud-based solutions as having “a great deal of risk” while 33% saw “somewhat” risk. Only 12% indicated there was little risk.

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Tips for Preserving Your Holiday Digital Memories

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Source: Library of Congress
By Mike Ashenfelder

During the holiday season, you might take photos and video of friends and loved ones. You might make audio recordings of voices, conversations and music. Whatever you photograph or record, we hope you will take time to backup and preserve your digital stuff.

As soon as you can, transfer the digital files off the camera, cell phone or other device and onto backup storage. That storage could be your computer, a thumb drive, a CD, a hard drive or an online cloud service. You should also backup a second copy somewhere else, preferably on a different type of storage device than the first.

If you have time, browse your files and decide if you want to keep everything or just cull the best ones. Twenty photos of the same scene might be unnecessary, no matter how beautiful the scene might be. And despite who is in that video, if the video is blurry and dark and shaky, you probably will never watch it again.

When you back your files up, organize them so you can easily find them.

Organize file folders however you want but be consistent with your system. Label folders by date, description or file type (such as “Photos” or “Thanksgiving 2013″). Organization makes it easy to find your stuff later.

You can rename files without affecting the contents. And renaming a file will help you find it quickly when you search for it later.

You can and descriptions to your digital photos, much as you would write a description to a paper photo.

Similarly, if you make any digital audio recordings, you can add descriptive information  into the audio files themselves, information that will display in the MP3 player.

If you have a special correspondence with someone, you can archive the emails and cell phone texts much as you would a paper letter or card.

Remember that all storage devices eventually become obsolete; maybe you can recall devices and disks from just a decade ago that are now either obsolete or on their way out of fashion. If you have valuable files still on those obsolete media, those files become increasingly difficult to access with every passing year. So in order to keep your files accessible, you should move your collection to a new storage medium about every five to seven years. That is about the average time for something new and different to come out. At the least, if you use the same backup device frequently — like a favorite thumb drive — get a new one.  Migrate your collection to new media periodically.

Write down where you have important files, along with any passwords needed to access them, and keep that information in a secure place that a designated person can access if you are not around.
Treat your digital files responsibly, preserve those memorable moments and you can enjoy them again and again for years

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Make Sure Your Archive Photos, Videos & Music Don’t Fade Away

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The MAM-A Inc. recordable disc has a shelf life of over 100 years, a 24 Carat Gold reflective layer, is ideal for any type of data or video content, and has maximum resistance to chemical breakdown, ideal for long-terms storage photography.

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3D Printing: What’s All The Fuss About?

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Source: The University of Nottingham’s Official Student Magazine
By:Joanne Blunt

3D printing seems to be the new ‘buzz’ word in science. In fact, much of the ground breaking research advancing this new technology is being done in Nottingham by the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group.

How does it work?
3D printers break down a 3D model into thousands of horizontal layers. The printer head then builds up the object layer by layer fusing each one together. To make moving parts, the machine simply leaves gaps in the right places in each layer until the object is complete. The process could be compared to making a corkscrew out of a stack of paper, some glue and some scissors. If you cut each piece of paper to the exact shape needed and stacked them on top of each other you would have the correct shape. All you would need to do is stick them together.

Materials such as plastic, metal and even chocolate have been used in the printers. The materials are ejected in powder form and fused together using lasers. Alternatively, the material can be melted in the printer nozzle, then cools and solidifies once ejected. This method allows more than one material to be used at once which enables objects like hearing aids, which need metal circuits and a specifically shaped plastic casing, to be made in one process.

How useful is 3D printing?
Mass production is always going to be cheaper and quicker than 3D printing when it comes to making thousands of identical objects. However, 3D printing is incredibly useful for making unique objects which need a very specific shape, some of which cannot be made by regular manufacturing techniques. It also has the advantage of being portable. This means that very precise objects can be designed and manufactured in remote places.

The benefits of being able to print a correctly sized prosthetic limb for a child in the middle of Africa or a small mechanical part for a space craft on Mars are obvious. This technology also opens up manufacturing to the masses in the same way the 2D printer made the printing of newspapers and leaflets possible for everyone only a few decades ago.

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National Archives Unveils Major Expansion for Exhibits

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The Magna Carta Circa 1297

Source: USA Today

A major addition to the National Archives opened December 10, 2013, that will expand public exhibit space and provide a new home for the only original Magna Carta on display in this country.

The $13.5 million David M. Rubenstein Gallery and Visitor Orientation Plazais certain to heighten the profile of a sometimes-overlooked Washington institution, and is part of a new wave of visitor-oriented expansions on the National Mall.

The gallery’s new permanent exhibit, Records of Rights, examines via photos, videos and documents the civil rights struggles of African Americans, women and immigrants. A centerpiece is an original 1297 Magna Carta, the first charter to attempt to limit the power of the English monarchy and a basis for the concept of constitutional law in the American colonies.

Elements in the space are meant to add context to the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, all of which are displayed nearby in the Archives Rotunda.

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Great Photographs Make You Look Twice – Great Photograpraphs From The Library of Congress

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By Barbara Orbach Natanson

Source: The Library of Congress

The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.

Which photographs do you consider “great”?

I was recently challenged to define greatness for a new compilation of more than 700 fascinating pictures that represent the breadth and depth of the Library of Congress’s wonderful photo collections.

The press release summarized the content well: “Included are iconic photographs, such as Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother’ and the Wright Brothers’ first successful airplane flight, as well as compelling historical images of people and places whose names have been lost or forgotten… A variety of themes and time periods are highlighted, from a turn-of-the-century color view of bustling activity on Constantinople’s Galata Bridge to a shot of the Hindenburg passenger airship in flames; from classic portraits of those who have changed the world—Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller and Babe Ruth among them—to illustrations of how world landscapes have changed since the dawn of photography.” (The press release includes a link to preview the book in the iTunes Store.)

A great photograph is one that makes you look twice. A dramatic subject matter or a striking composition catches your attention, and, instead of merely glancing at an image, you slow down and look more closely. As you are drawn into the image, you feel connected to the people or places depicted because they represent a common human experience. Or, the photographer has captured a moment in a way that inspires questions and makes you want to know more. You often want to keep a copy of a great photo handy so that you can look at it again and again.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

A 3-D Printer Could Pay For Itself In As Little As Four Months

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New research says that because you can now download plans to 3-D print so many household items; you can offset the cost of a 3-D printer. Is this the start of a 3-D printer in every home?

On Thingiverse, a site where anyone can share their 3-D digital designs for others to use, you can find the blueprints for printing a world of oddities: a scale model of a great white shark skull, Star Wars cufflinks, and the “Monster Cube” puzzle to name a few entries among the 60,000 open-source designs that Joshua Pearce, a researcher at Michigan Technological University, estimates live on the site.

But among the curiosities are also a growing number of common household items that can be made on a 3-D printer and are actually pretty useful. So Pearce decided to do the math. In a study published in the journal Mechatronics in July, Pearce discusses 20 common household items he found on Thingiverse, and how he then searched Google Shopping to calculate a range of what it would cost to get these items shipped to his door. He compared these to the costs of making the items on a home 3-D printer, including the price of materials and even the electricity consumed during the estimated print time.

His conclusion? “For the average American consumer, 3-D printing is ready for showtime,” he writes. If a consumer printed only those 20 items in a year (really, he could do it in a weekend for a total of $18), the avoided purchase costs would range from $300 to $2,000.

That means a 3-D printer could pay for itself in as little as four months and at least within two years. The payback time could shrink even more, he says, especially as 3-D printers become more affordable, reliable and easy to repair by making their own parts.

This all seems exciting on the surface. These days, everyone from President Obama to General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt are talking up the potential for 3-D printing to reinvent how the U.S. does business–helping to bring manufacturing back to domestic shores, but also allowing average households to have their own mini-factories at home.

However, the list of 20 items in Pearce’s study should give us pause. They include a key hanger, a jewelry organizer, a garlic press, a paper towel holder, a spoon holder, a Pierogi mold and several kinds of iPhone cases, docks and stands. Pearce deliberately chose affordable items in his study.

But for people on a budget, buying a mold to make Pierogis (which, by the way, are delicious) isn’t exactly going to make or break the daily budget calculation. It’s also worth questioning whether another item on the list–a shower head–could possibly function as well in a plastic 3-D print compared to a store-bought item that has been designed to last.

Nevertheless, the trend is growing. It will get easier and more affordable to make things at home on a 3-D printer, and soon these devices will be cheap enough that it will make sense for many people to jump in and buy one.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Digital Media Durability, Usage, Storage & Handling

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Our home movies, photo albums, letters, and paper documents are a vital link to the past. Personal information we create today has the same value. The only difference is that much of it is now digital.

Digital storage media have a limited life. This is why digital preservation requires active management, including regular migration of content from older storage devices to newer devices. The life of storage media are cut short by at least three factors:

1. Media durability
2. Media usage, storage and handling

How Long Will Digital Storage Media Last?

1. Media durability
Computer storage media devices vary in how long they last. The quality and construction of individual media items differ widely. The following estimates for media life are approximate; a specific item can easily last longer–or fail much sooner.

2. Media usage, storage and handling
People have a direct impact on the longevity of storage media:
The more often media are handled and used, the greater the chance they will fail; careful handling can extend media life, rough handling has the opposite effect. Stable and moderate temperature and humidity, along with protection from harmful elements (such as sun and salt) helps keep media alive.

Good-quality readers and other hardware media connections are beneficial; poor connections can kill media quickly.

Media that are not labeled or safely stored can be lost or accidentally thrown away.

Fires, floods and other disasters are very bad for media!

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

The CD is Not Deceased

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Source: forbes.com
By: Bobby Owsinski

Everybody knows that the Compact Disc has died, replaced by a digital world where files and streams are the main methods of music delivery. The only problem with that statement is that the CD is not yet deceased by a long shot, and it’s still a real tool in the belt of artists and bands everywhere. Sure, it’s rapidly diminishing in importance, but important it still is. I know that most of you reading this don’t believe me, so let me give you three reasons as proof.

Reason #1
: Last year there were 211 million CDs sold in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. While this number is down 78% from the format’s peak in 2000, it still amounted to around $2.5 billion in revenue, or about 35% of the income of the entire industry in theUS. If you think that there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth in the business now (although there’s less than in the recent past), you’d hear some real wailing in record label boardrooms everywhere if the format were to disappear into the ether tomorrow.

Now 211 million of anything is a lot of units, but keep in mind that these are only the sales that the RIAA could count through their traditional distribution channels. This doesn’t account for all the CDs sold independently by artists at gigs, shows, church services, or online from personal or band websites, and who knows how many other outlets. And keep in mind that CDs are a high-margin item that makes not only more revenue per sale but more profit as well. An artist or band selling a few units per night might not seem like much, but this is occurring by the thousands daily, which adds up to real money that’s not on the books anywhere and never will be.

Reason #2: There are still certain audiences who would rather buy a CD than get their music from a digital alternative, like country, hard rock, and the church market to name a few. You can argue that this may be because these audiences are less tech savvy than the mainstream, but the fact of the matter is that they’re currently comfortable with the format and will happily make a purchase if they like what they hear. If you’re a label or artist, you have to give the customer what he wants.

Reason #3: Here’s a major issue that many digital proponents don’t understand. If you don’t have a CD, you can’t get reviewed. Reviewers just don’t take digital-only releases seriously, especially for newer artists, and unless a writer has that bright and shiny disc in his hands, the release doesn’t count. No disc, no review. Believe it or not, this also applies to bloggers, who ply their trade in the virtual world.

While most artists would rather play on a stage filled with broken glass than be part of some old-school distribution technology, the beautiful thing about our current digital world is that even the most physical-averse artist or label can press CDs without the hassle of buying a mass number of copies like in the past. CDs can now be purchased in extremely low quantities (as few as one) from on-demand companies like Kunaki or Trepstar, who will even drop-ship them to a customer if the purchase is through CD Baby or Amazon. A DIY artist or band no longer has to play the physical game as it was once played. Need 37 copies and not a disc more? It’s now possible.

Don’t take this article as the rant of someone still living in a music world gone by. I haven’t bought a CD in years and wouldn’t be bothered a bit if they disappeared tomorrow. In fact, I believe that the future of music is getting brighter as we live more and more in a streaming world, and it will eventually be as prosperous or more than the CD era at its peak. The fact of the matter is that while the CD market is clearly drying up, there’s still a lot of water left in that lake. CDs remain more important than you think in the grand scheme of an artist’s survival. Ignore the format at your own peril – at least for today.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Wishing You Safe Data

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Digital preservation on a personal level is a daunting task laced with threats of doom. It requires great amounts of time, energy and consideration with very few visible benefits from day to day.

Like organizing a closet, or rearranging a kitchen cabinet, personal digital archiving is easy to put off, easy to forget and easy to make excuses for avoiding. It is tempting to look at disorganized files and pantries and shrug them off by saying “I’ll work on this tomorrow.” How quickly we realize the error of our ways.

As soon as a disaster occurs and we find ourselves surrounded in disarray and must pick up the pieces. Just as kitchen cabinets need to be organized after a bag of rice spills on the floor, we start thinking about digital archiving after we can’t find a file, or access a piece of software.

Who among us has not lost a piece of valuable digital information? Our data can go out with a bang of a laptop being dropped. We can lose our data with the excitement of graduation or the mourning of a funeral. Personal files can be lost with the closing of a company or the changing of a leader.

For reasons as diverse as natural disasters to software obsolescence, accessing our data can be impossible. We can discover the inaccessibility of the data immediately, months or even years after it occurs and feel the same paralyzing inability to do anything about it. Is there anything more frustrating than this?

It seems to me that there are two paths following the loss of data. Option one: consider this to be a fluke, and continue on with day to day life without making any of the necessary changes to preserve data. By ignoring the greater implications, the data loss will be repeated. It is just a matter of time before more and more data becomes lost. It will start as a trickle, and become a flood. Until responsibility is taken, this will become a cycle.

Option two: learn the implications of this data loss: if one piece of digital data can easily become inaccessible then any piece of data can become inaccessible. This puts every photograph, every email, every home video, every e-filing and every other bit of memory in your digital history on the proverbial chopping block. That is a terrifying possibility, but not inevitability as long as steps are taken to actively preserve digital data.

However, taking the next step can be difficult. With the relative newness of digital preservation and the plethora of different storage facilities and types, one can easy get lost in a technical jargon, and ambiguity. It can lead to more questions than answers.

What exactly is metadata and how do I make sure I have enough? Is it better to preserve material in the cloud or a physical storage media? As the questions mount, so does the frustration. It becomes easy to just give up on trying to preserve personal data for the future, to continue to put off the necessary steps until the next disaster occurs, thus starting the whole process over again.

One of the things we’ve learned is just how useful the NDIIPP personal digital archiving is for helping people do the right thing with personal files. Written in a clear and relaxed tone We’ve found the website, as well as blog posts by Mike Ashenfelder and others to answer all kinds of questions.

We wish we could testify that the NDIIPP information has totally dispelled my fear of impending digital doom. It hasn’t. But it has inspired me with ideas and insights I can apply to push my personal digital threat level back to a safer place.

In the meantime, we wish you all safe data.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

GE Teams With Celebrities And Redesigns Santa’s Sleigh For National 3-D Printing Day

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By Jeff Beer

The brand uses a design contest and Twitter gifts to give us a peek at its 3-D prowess. See the new visions for Santa’s ride that came out of the campaign here.

Despite perhaps suffering from over-hype, 3-D printing is still very much a hot topic and will play a role in the future of everything from advertising to happy meals.

It’s become so big it actually has its own day. Yep, December 3rd is National 3-D Printing Day and  General Electric wants to party. You might get excited about printing your own homemade action figures and/or innovative mug designs some day, but GE has been knee deep in 3-D technology for more than two decades. By 2020, the company says it will have made over 100,000 aviation parts from their factories alone. But since we’re not all rushing out to buy jet engines, this new “holiday” is a way for the brand to get the word out on the potential of 3-D manufacturing to the masses.

“Santa’s New Hyper Sleigh”

First up, the brand teamed with other 3-D printing leaders like 3D Systems, Autodesk, and Makerbot to enlist an eclectic mix of celebrities and brands to help design limited-edition 3-D printed holiday gifts that will be flogged for free on Twitter. That means you might be able to land a techie tchotchke from people like Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow, What Not to Wear’s Stacy London, 4chan founder Chris Poole, and brands like Spotify and the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Museum.

The company also worked with open engineering software firm Grab CAD to take its annual Santa sleight design to a more collaborative level. It was presented to the Grab CAD community as a design contest, with the winning sleigh design turned into a 3-D printed ornament prize for the #3DPrintMyGift holiday campaign.

“This is the first time that GE has ever done something like this and we managed to channel two themes into the day,” says contest judge Juan Pablo Cilia, a GE manufacturing designer at the company’s Global Research R&D division. “The purpose is to get people thinking more about 3-D printing. For this contest, it was about creating an environment where we as judges had ongoing discussions with contestants about their spec ideas and sleigh design choices.”

The judges waded through about 60 entries to find the winning sleigh– “Santa’s New Hyper Sleigh.” Second place went to “Santa Modern Sleigh,” while a big “Red Elephant” nabbed third. According to Cilia, fourth-place “Santa’s Energy Sleigh” was an early front runner.

If you miss out on the GE freebies, the designs of each item will be open and available for anyone to print from home after December 3rd.
At his day job Cilia works on design ideas across the brand’s spectrum of products in health care, jet engines, lighting, and energy like wind and solar. He sees this campaign as an effective tool to promote and raise awareness of what the company is up to. “GE is doing huge things to actually utilize 3-D printing technology in production of real products,” says Cilia. “Things like this sleigh contest, even though it sounds childish, is a way to get people to understand what 3-D printing is all about.”

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Businessman Donating 3D Printer to Students

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Source: Kansas City Star
Juneau, Alaska
Students in Heather Ridgway’s advanced 3D design class atJuneau’s Thunder Mountain High School soon will be able to print out their handiwork. Western Auto Marine general manager John Weedman plans to donate a 3D printer to Ridgway’s classroom after Christmas.

Weedman said he recently bought two 3D printers at a trade show but decided he didn’t need both for the business. He said he thought a school would be a good place to donate one. “I thought it would be a neat thing for the kids to be able to design projects and make the projects,” he told the Juneau Empire. He’s been having some fun himself, printing things like luggage tags, a tiny race car and a skull.

The printers churn out working plastic parts using special computer files. Ridgway’s students design their projects with computer programs and only get to view them on their screens. With the printer, “if you do a good job and you complete it and you know it’s a good file, we’ll print it,” she said.

The teacher is particularly excited to see the printer used for jewelry design, since the students can then wear their pieces.

Ridgway said the school’s Robotics Club also will be using the printe
At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

A Blue-ray Disc That Lasts 1,000 Years – Guarantees Caddyshack Lives On

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Source: Gizmodo
M-Discs, they last a lot longer than the tape-based storage of yesteryear, but optical discs, particularly the type you burn at home, aren’t guaranteed to survive even a decade. So if you want to pass on that wedding video/vacation photos/copy of Caddyshackto your great-great grand kids, you’ll want to opt for Millenniate’s new 25GB Blue-ray compatible M-DISCs which are guaranteed to last at least 1,000 years.

The M-DISCs—which burn data onto a more permanent layer made of metals and metalloids instead of organic light-sensitive dyes—have existed as standard DVDs for a few years now. But that provides just a paltry 4.7GB of storage capacity. The new Blu-ray version of course boosts that to 25GB, and although the discs need to be created on an M-DISC compatible burner (many are these days) they can still be played back on a regular Blu-ray player. So it’s got that goin’ for it, which is nice.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

M-DISC Link: http://www.mam-a-store.com/m1yeme.html

 

Recordable Media That’s More Reliable and Longer Lived Than Any Media Available Today

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MAM-A Inc. has developed a reputation for quality that is un-equaled in the CD industry. Because of our patented Phthalocyanine (thalo-sy-a-neen) dye and our attention to detail in the manufacturing process, we offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lived than any other recording media available today. If you store it on MAM-A CD-R, you can be sure that you can reliably retrieve it for a long time to come. In fact, we conservatively estimate that our MAM-A Gold CD-R will last in excess of 300 years when stored at room temperature. No other recording media that we know of can offer that kind of reliability. (Tapes don’t come close and even “stamped” CDs will last 5-25 years at best).

The MAM-A Advantage
MAM-A CD-R media benefits from a consistency and process control which no other manufacturer can equal. MAM-A CD-R customers know that each component and each step in the manufacturing process has been subjected to the most rigorous quality controls in the industry. Every MAM-A CD-R is warranted for life. No other CD-R media manufacturer offers a warranty of this strength.

Every MAM-A CD-R is certified for use with all high speed recorders up to 52X. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, MAM-A’s molding process results in discs that are flatter than the competition. While all discs are slightly warped, if they are warped beyond a certain tolerance they cannot be used for high speed recording. Secondly, the unique characteristics of the Phthalocyanine dye simply works better in high speed writers than other dyes. Some of the key parameters to judge CD quality actually improve at higher speeds with MAM CD-R.

High Speed Compatibility
Phthalocyanine dye is more sensitive to powered laser light and more conducive to high speed recording than other dyes. It is altered more quickly and sharply by the laser. Therefore it guarantees very precise recording at speeds 2X-52X with any type of recorder, and errorless read back by any type of player. Since we have not changed our dye formulation in over 5 years, drive manufacturers are able to easily configure their units for our dye. That’s why MAM CD-R is compatible with every writer & reader on the market.  A CD-R that we manufactured 5 years ago will perform the same as the ones made today. Most of our competitors need to re-formulate for different speeds, requiring drive manufacturers to accommodate multiple variations.

Diamond Coat® Protective Surface
Enhanced toughness and durability to withstand physical and environmental assaults that would destroy lesser discs. MAM-A’s Diamond Coat® is applied over the “industry standard” coating for additional protection not offered by other manufacturers

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Microsoft Releases 3D Printer App for Windows 8.1

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Source: Gizmag
By: Stuart Robarts

Microsoft has released a 3D printing application for Windows 8.1 called 3D Builder. It allows users to view, design and prepare objects for printing and includes a library of editable objects to help users familiarize themselves with the software.

Microsoft is a emphasizing the accessibility of 3D Builder, describing it as “fun” and ‘”easy-to-use”. In a blog post announcing the release of the application, Kristina Libby of Microsoft says, “We’re entering an exciting new era in which everyone will be able to create and print three dimensional objects. Just imagine being able to print a spare part for a household appliance, or creating your own jewelry line of custom 3D-printed earrings.”

Support for 3D printing is native to Windows 8.1, meaning that the operating system has built in functionality, such as plug and play capability for 3D printers. It also recognizes various 3D printing file-types so objects designed in other applications or that have downloaded from the internet can also be printed.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

The Fine Art of Archival Science

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Source: Library of Congress

Archivists keep records that have enduring value as reliable memories of the past, and they help people find and understand the information they need in those records. Archivists appraise, edit, and maintain permanent records and historically valuable documents. Many perform research on archival material. Determining what records have enduring value can be challenging. Archivists must also select records valuable enough to justify the costs of storage and preservation, plus the labor intensive expenses of arrangement, description, and reference service.[ The theory and scholarly work underpinning archives practices is called archival science.

Because archival records are frequently unique, the archivist may be as much concerned with the preservation and custody of the information carrier (i.e. the physical document) as with its informational content: in this regard, the skill-set and outlook of the archivist sometimes have a lot in common with those of the museum curator.

Archiving Tips:

Identify where you have digital photos
Identify all your digital photos on cameras, computers and removable media such as memory cards.
Include your photos on the Web.
Decide which photos are most important
Pick the images you feel are especially important.
Organize the selected photos
Give individual photos descriptive file names.
Tag photos with names of people and descriptive subjects .
Create a directory/folder structure on your computer to put the images you picked.
Write a brief description of the directory structure and the photos.
Make copies and store them in different places
Make at least two copies of your selected photos—more copies are better.
One copy can stay on your computer or laptop; put other copies on separate media such as DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives or Internet storage.
Store copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If disaster strikes one location, your photographs in the other place should be safe.
Put a copy of the photo inventory with your important papers in a secure location.
Check your photos at least once a year to make sure you can read them.
Create new media copies every five years or when necessary to avoid data loss.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

 

Compact Discs Remain The Basic Calling Card For Every Musician

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Rupert Hine (born 1947 in London) is an English musician, songwriter and record producer, having produced albums for artists including Kevin Ayers, Tina Turner, Howard Jones, Saga, The Fixx, Bob Geldof, Thompson Twins, Stevie Nicks, Chris de Burgh, Suzanne Vega, Rush, Underworld, Duncan Sheik and others. In addition, Hine has recorded eleven albums, including ones billed under his own name, the pseudo-band name Thinkman, and with the group Quantum Jump.

Rupert Hine explained the enduring appeal of CDs this way: “People love to collect things. Make a beautiful object, and they will want it.” As collectors, we get a special thrill from acquiring beautiful physical objects like books, magazines, stamps, paintings, etc. The gorgeous artwork and packaging of a well-designed CD make it collectable, too.

Compact discs remain the basic calling card and selling tool for every musician. So why is the CD still so important, when online forms of music are so convenient and popular as well?

For a more technical explanation, Jupiter Research has noted that music lovers know they can buy a physical CD for their collection, use it as the source for ripping music to an iPod, and still hold on to it as a full resolution backup in case anything goes wrong or the digital format du jour changes yet again.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Why The Epson Discproducer PP – 100 AP?

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The reliable Discproducer Autoprinter print-only model is ideal for use with high-speed duplication systems. It has all the features you need to print up to 100 customized discs at a time at a fast print speed of 95 discs per hour. And with its vibrant six-color inkjet printing, precision AcuGrip™ robotic arm and easy-to-use software you get the high quality results you’re looking for every time.

As the only company in the world to design, develop and market both inkjet printers and industrial precision robotics, it makes perfect sense for us to combine the two. The result is the PP-100AP – for clear, reliable printing on up to 100 CDs or DVDs in a single session.

Simple, straightforward, no-nonsense
As easy to use as an office printer, the Epson PP-100AP can print onto 100 CDs/DVDs in a single session. It processes up to 95 discs per hour and is therefore ideally suited for quick and efficient large batch production of professionally designed digital media. It’s the only product in its class that has front facing control and status reporting.

The best print quality in its class
You’ll get vibrant, lifelike, razor sharp prints that are smudge proof and water resistant thanks to the advanced print technology and ink. Cost effective to own and maintain.

Cost effective to own and maintain
Incredibly, you can produce over 1,000 prints per set of 6 ink cartridges. And because it uses a separate cartridge for each color, you only need to change the cartridges that are near empty.

Product Features
100 disc capacity
Prints up to 95 discs per hour
Highest quality printing in its class
AcuGrip technology

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Three Reasons Why The CD Is Still Important – Why the Shiny Piece Of Plastic Isn’t Dead Yet

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Photo credit: Wikipedia

Source: forbes.com
By: Bobby Owsinski

Everybody knows that the Compact Disc has died, replaced by a digital world where files and streams are the main methods of music delivery. The only problem with that statement is that the CD is not yet deceased by a long shot, and it’s still a real tool in the belt of artists and bands everywhere. Sure, it’s rapidly diminishing in importance, but important it still is. I know that most of you reading this don’t believe me, so let me give you three reasons as proof.

Reason #1
: Last year there were 211 million CDs sold in theUnited States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. While this number is down 78% from the format’s peak in 2000, it still amounted to around $2.5 billion in revenue, or about 35% of the income of the entire industry in theUS. If you think that there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth in the business now (although there’s less than in the recent past), you’d hear some real wailing in record label boardrooms everywhere if the format were to disappear into the ether tomorrow.

Now 211 million of anything is a lot of units, but keep in mind that these are only the sales that the RIAA could count through their traditional distribution channels. This doesn’t account for all the CDs sold independently by artists at gigs, shows, church services, or online from personal or band websites, and who knows how many other outlets. And keep in mind that CDs are a high-margin item that makes not only more revenue per sale but more profit as well. An artist or band selling a few units per night might not seem like much, but this is occurring by the thousands daily, which adds up to real money that’s not on the books anywhere and never will be.

Reason #2: There are still certain audiences who would rather buy a CD than get their music from a digital alternative, like country, hard rock, and the church market to name a few. You can argue that this may be because these audiences are less tech savvy than the mainstream, but the fact of the matter is that they’re currently comfortable with the format and will happily make a purchase if they like what they hear. If you’re a label or artist, you have to give the customer what he wants.

Reason #3: Here’s a major issue that many digital proponents don’t understand. If you don’t have a CD, you can’t get reviewed. Reviewers just don’t take digital-only releases seriously, especially for newer artists, and unless a writer has that bright and shiny disc in his hands, the release doesn’t count. No disc, no review. Believe it or not, this also applies to bloggers, who ply their trade in the virtual world.

While most artists would rather play on a stage filled with broken glass than be part of some old-school distribution technology, the beautiful thing about our current digital world is that even the most physical-averse artist or label can press CDs without the hassle of buying a mass number of copies like in the past. CDs can now be purchased in extremely low quantities (as few as one) from on-demand companies like Kunaki or Trepstar, who will even drop-ship them to a customer if the purchase is through CD Baby or Amazon. A DIY artist or band no longer has to play the physical game as it was once played. Need 37 copies and not a disc more? It’s now possible.

Don’t take this article as the rant of someone still living in a music world gone by. I haven’t bought a CD in years and wouldn’t be bothered a bit if they disappeared tomorrow. In fact, I believe that the future of music is getting brighter as we live more and more in a streaming world, and it will eventually be as prosperous or more than the CD era at its peak. The fact of the matter is that while the CD market is clearly drying up, there’s still a lot of water left in that lake. CDs remain more important than you think in the grand scheme of an artist’s survival. Ignore the format at your own peril – at least for today.

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Long Term Archive Backup – Delivering Peace of Mind

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Source: googledocuments.com

Real Preservation – While most people think of optical as an entertainment medium, the write-once products were first developed for long-term data/content preservation.

The CD above was written in 1993 and can still be read 20 years later. Today’s advanced BD preservation media delivers a data life of 50 years or more without constant media migration or requiring power (except when read/written) or AC, delivering peace of mind and savings.

I mentioned the dilemma to an integrator friend while at SNW and he said the focus today is on “data factories.”

These are facilities based on hyper scale and hyper-standardization that handle the traditional content storage and archiving with little/no concern about preservation.

For preservation, he said write-once optical was best and constant, regular migration of content was second. He emphasized that the stories surrounding tape just aren’t supported by real-world facts. “The real danger is that tapes don’t even support the lifespan for data that most companies want to achieve in their archival policies.”

To illustrate the benefits of optical preservation, he sent me the above photo of a ripped CD manual he had received back in 1993 and pointed out that the disc can be read even today on virtually any CD, DVD, BD player. He added that:

Even in large data centers, optical media is based on energy-passive technology and only requires power when read/written.

Unlike other solutions, optical media doesn’t need to be maintained in an air-conditioned facility–AC accounts for 50% of data center costs today.

According to the integrator, the problems the new BD preservation solutions face today are:

1.  It still has an image of yesterday’s movie and entertainment discs, which it isn’t.

2.  Most folks use the term archiving when what they really want is long-term preservation – two totally different goals.

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Digital Preservation Pioneer: Sam Brylawski

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Sam Brylawski

Source: Library of Congress

After years of planning, the staff, hosts, and benefactors are pleased to welcome the 2013-2014 National Digital Stewardship Residency.

When Sam Brylawski was a teenager he had to write a paper for his high school American history class about Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” so he did something that was ambitious for a high school student: he traveled to the Library of Congress to examine the composition’s original manuscript in the Gershwin collection.

“To actually examine a real Gershwin manuscript was a great thrill,” said Brylawski. “Those things worked to get me hooked on the Library of Congress and on libraries in general.”

Hooked enough to work in the Library’s Recorded Sound Section every summer during college, to get a job there after graduating college, and to immerse himself so deeply and thoroughly in his work that he would one day become the head of Recorded Sound. And hooked enough to crusade for unified action among public and private institutions to preserve and make accessible all recorded sound. Visit us at: digitalpreservation.gov/

During the opening ceremony, the Deputy Librarian of Congress, Robert Dizard, Jr., pointed out that the NDSR was not only going to help the residents and participating institutions, but would also help the Library identify areas of urgency in the field of digital preservation.

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McDonalds Ponders In-Store 3D Printing for Happy Meal Toys

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Would you like to supersize that molten plastic? (The toy, not the cheeseburger).

Source: theregister.com
By Joe Fay

McDonalds is considering installing 3D printers in its stores to produce the pocket-sized toys which are a key part of their Happy Meals.
The burger corp’s UK IT director, Mark Fabes, said he was looking at potential applications of 3d printing – and one was whether it could be used to produce the toys which are bundled in McDonalds’ Happy Meals.
Countless families have had their enjoyment of a nutritious McD’s ruined because they turned up the week that the starring character in that season’s kiddie-sized blockbuster had been replaced by an earnest but boring supporting character as the toy of choice.
Being able to cook up Monsters Inc’s Sully to order could be an even bigger draw for many families than the ability to order a cheeseburger without semi-raw diced onion or a wafer of pickle.

However, before you pile down to your nearest branch, it’s worth pointing out that this is not even a pilot.

“It’s just a thought,” said Fabes, speaking to El Reg at a Fujitsu customer event inMunich.
He said apart from cost considerations, there was the issue of whether plastic smelting machines were appropriate for use in food outlets.

Right now there are few names in 3D printing that will be familiar to mainstream tech buyers. However, Meg Whitman told a conference recently that HP was considering an entry into the market.
Fabes said any move by McDonalds would have to be alongside a serious tech supplier: “It’s got to be a big partner in terms of robustness.” ®
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What is 3D Printing – Fantastical? Yes. True? Yes. Here now? Yes.

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Printer produces 3D objects on demand

Source: Mashable

An overview of 3D printing, how a 3D printer works, their uses, and impact on the world, for those who don’t know what 3D printing is.

You’ve heard of 3D printing from newscasters and journalists, astonished at what they’ve witnessed. A machine reminiscent of the Star Trek Replicator, something magical that can create objects out of thin air. It can “print” in plastic, metal, nylon, and over a hundred other materials. It can be used for making nonsensical little models like the over-printed Yoda, yet it can also print manufacturing prototypes, end user products, quasi-legal guns, aircraft engine parts and even human organs using a person’s own cells.

3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling. A materials printer usually performs 3D printing using digital technology.

The first working 3D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. Since the start of the 21st century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price has dropped substantially. According to Wohlers Associates, a consultancy, the market for 3D printers and services was worth $2.2 billion worldwide in 2012, up 29% from 2011.

The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, engineering, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech, fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields.

It has been speculated that 3D printing may become a mass market item because open source 3D printing can easily offset their capital costs by enabling consumers to avoid costs associated with purchasing common household objects.

This is a technology of mammoth proportions, with effects on energy use, waste, customization, product availability, art, medicine, construction, the sciences, and of course manufacturing. It will change the world as we know it. Before you know it.

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Connecting Communities: Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines

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By Kate Murray

The following is a guest post from Carla Miller of the Library of Congress. This is the second in a two-part update on the recent activities of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative. This article describes the work of the Still Image Working Group. This article describes the work of the Audio-Visual Working Group.

While attending a Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative Still Image Working Group meeting earlier this summer, I suddenly saw everything come together. What I mean by that is I realized how the digital preservation work performed by my team at the Library of Congress intersects and relates to the work being performed by other divisions within the Library as well as other government agencies.

At the Library of Congress, Dr. Lei He is an imaging scientist who is currently researching the effects of compression on digital images. Dr. He also uses quantitative methods to analyze edges found in images. “Edges” are naturally occurring high contrast areas of photographs that can be used to determine what resolution is needed for digitization. Dr. He’s research is already improving the processes at the Library of Congress. Similar analyses done on the Farm Security Administration photo collection at the Library determined a higher scanning resolution was required for groups of negatives in the collection. This determination was especially significant because many historic negatives are deteriorating, which means this may be the last chance to digitize them for preservation and access.

Another type of research and testing is being done by Don Williams of Image Science Associates, an expert consultant for the Library of Congress. Don works with Steve Puglia and Dr. Lei He at the Library to develop software and image targets for assessing image performance. The software is known as DICE (Digital Image Conformance Evaluation), and using targets it analyzes the quality of the actual image capture to help determine both if the product quality expected is occurring and if that quality is consistent throughout the workflow. One important aspect of the DICE targets is that they are produced with spectrally neutral gray patches; many neutral patches on color/grayscale targets are not. A spectrally neutral target for transmissive materials (think photographic negatives rather than printed photos) is also in development.
The Library of Congress uses the DICE targets to test scanning equipment and to verify output quality. The DICE software is also used in quality assurance and quality control testing for digitization projects funded by the Library. This testing and analysis assures consistent quality across projects. It also ensures that the final product will be as true to the original as possible, an aspect that is often important for users of the Library’s digitized collections.

In a joint effort with the Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration, Library staff members have developed a matrix of file format comparisons.  Five formats for still images were chosen for analysis: PNG, TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000 and PDF. The group compared sustainability, and cost factors for implementation and storage. The final draft of this document will be available for public comment on the FADGI site within the next couple of weeks.

The research work being done at the Library benefits other Federal agencies as well. In fact, the entire purpose of FADGI is for Federal agencies to collaborate and share information and best practices on digitizing our various collections and records. Some examples of these collaborations were shared at our most recent meeting: Don Williams will be working with the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian on the digitization of endangered manuscript materials. The Smithsonian will work with the Library on standardized language we use in contracts requiring the use of DICE targets as an objective measurement of scanning devices. And in a general sense, the research we do often informs the development of policies, protocols and workflows throughout the Library and various other agencies.

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3D Printing: Surprising Things We Could See Printed Soon

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3D Printed Bionic Ear

Source; TEDblog.com
By: 
Becky Chung

It is the dawn of the era of 3D printing. From artificial prosthetics to very real human kidneys to filigree skull sculptures, the number and variety of applications for this technology is growing, layer by printed layer. Combine this with the decreasing cost of owning a printer, as well as the cheaper cost of manufacturing in general, and it appears that 3D printers are here to stay. So, why stop at a kidney?

A 3D printed jumbo jet? Bastian Schaefer of Airbus has a far bigger use in mind. In talk, he shares a vision for the sustainable future of aviation: a jumbo jet that’s light, cheap and spacious, with an exterior that mimics the structure of bone. He imagines the jet as a “living, breathing organism,” complete with its own consciousness. And he imagines the jet printed from the ground up.

Why use 3D printing technology to create the plane of the future? Bastian explains that unlike traditional machining, which removes material from a larger piece of material, 3D printing is an additive process, layering material on top of material. Thus, there is little to no waste.

However, there is still a way to go. Before we can have Bastian’s jumbo jet, we need the giant 3D printer to print it. Bastian reminds us of the importance of having a vision. He says, “We cannot predict the future. We can only create a vision of what it might be.”

Here, more revolutionary visions of our 3D printed future:

1. Rocket parts. NASA is working on the largest rocket ever constructed that is projected to take humans to Mars by 2030. Bypassing traditional processes for building rocket parts, which require welding of seams, creating a single seamless 3D printed piece means less chance for leakage. It also cuts down the cost of manufacturing by almost half. Recently, NASA tested 3D-printed rocket engine injectors in hot-fire tests, exposing them to extreme temperatures and pressures. They passed with flying colors.

2. Meat and leather. The US startup Modern Meadow is working on creating meat and leather products — without killing animals.  Founder Andras Forgacs, who spoke on the TED Global 2013 stage, asked, “Animal products are just collections of tissues. So what if instead of starting with animals, we started with cells?” Using a stem-cell sample taken from a biopsy, the cell is cultured until it’s multiplied. Then this bionic that contains hundreds of live cells is printed, and the cells form living tissue. Forgacs is starting with leather, then moving on to meat.

3. Virtually any food. Can the technology of 3D printing be harnessed to tackle world hunger? Anjan Contractor, a mechanical engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation, is working on a prototype for a “universal food synthesizer.” It sounds like a crazy science fiction story: a 3D printer in each household with the ability to print healthy meals from powders, with a shelf life of at least 15 years. But it’s becoming a probable reality.

4.  A house. Designer Alastair Parvain explores the idea of regular people being able to print and construct their own homes. In his TED talk, he talks about WikiHouse, an open-source construction kit that’s a library of 3D models and cutting files that will allow anyone using a CNC machine and plywood, to “print” out the parts for their own house.

5. Liquid metal parts. AtNorth CarolinaStateUniversity, researchers developed a metal alloy that remains at a liquid state at room temperature.  They then used a syringe to arrange the droplets into a vertical chain-like structure. The next step, now, is to create a 3D printer for the purpose of printing this liquid metal. If the technology is harnessed, it would allow for the creation of bendy electronics, and revolutionize the electronics manufacturing process.

6. Bionic ear and jaw bone.  Right now, the potential for 3D printing in the medical sphere is incredible. Last year, an 83-year-old Belgian woman received the first 3D printed jaw bone,  a transplant that was tailored specifically for her facial structure. A bionic ear was printed from a concoction of calf cells and hydrogel and antennae made from nano-particles. The first version allowed hearing at a superhuman range, powerful enough to pick up radio waves.

7. High fashion. Designers are already experimenting with 3D-printed materials in creative and innovative ways. . The cheaper cost of manufacturing would certainly have an impact on the current system of mass production. Silk is already being experimented with. MIT researchers have used 6,500 silkworms to 3D-print this ethereal silk dome shaped pavilion covering.

8. A Moon base. Architecture firm Foster + Partners have paired with The European Space Agency to investigate the possibility of a 3Dprinted moon habitat. The material used in the printing process would be moon dust and soil that would be layered to form a building block, not unlike concrete. This method would save us from the challenge of transporting raw building materials.

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Feast Your Eyes: On Apples

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Source: Library of Congress
By Kristi Finefield

The advice given recovering soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital during National Apple Week in 1925 rings true today: “The King of fruits. Eat plenty of them”!

If every collection in the Prints and Photographs Division is an apple tree, full of tantalizing visual treats, then all of our holdings combined make for a vast orchard, ripe with possibility.  My extended food metaphor is no accident, as we are launching a new monthly series here at Picture

This entitled Feast Your Eyes. The series will highlight food and drink-related images plucked from the collections by our staff.

The series will invite you to enjoy the breadth and depth of our collections through images reflecting a variety of eras, media, and purposes. We venture the posts will get you thinking about visual images in a new way – and perhaps leave you a bit hungry for more!

The leaves changing to vibrant red and yellows and the nip in the air herald the arrival of fall. This brings me back to the classic apple, my choice for kicking off the series.

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3D Printing Can Now Re-create an Entire Classic Car

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Source: Popular Mechanics.com
The emergence of 3D printing allowed those who could afford such a machine the power to craft custom replacement parts for car. Now that printers are growing cheaper and more sophisticated—and can handle materials such as metal—the possibilities are limitless.

Maybe you watched one of those Star Trek episodes in which the replicator produces a piping-hot cup of Earl Grey tea out of thin air and thought, I could devise far better uses for that thing—like creating an entire 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO SWB. That capability is a lot closer to reality than the show’s faster-than-light travel. Thanks to the rapid advancement of 3D printing tech, crafting new car parts through additive manufacturing is becoming routine, and companies are even starting to consider 3D printing complete re-creations of classic cars.

In 2009, when uberenthusiast Jay Leno wrote in Pop Mech about using a 3D printer to replace rusted old parts, this trend was just getting off the ground. Today GM uses 3D printing to quickly build and test prototype parts for even mass-market cars like the Malibu. And now shops can scan entire irreplaceable cars for reference and use that information to print identical replacement parts in case of catastrophe. This ability means that they could also choose to print all the parts to create an exact clone of a priceless gem. In some cases they can print complete functioning assemblies, provided the printer can handle all of the materials used in the part.

“We have had customers who basically have what would be considered a priceless vehicle,” says David Kettner of Fused Innovation, the 3D printing subsidiary of famed classic restoration shop Motion Products Inc., in Neenah, Wis. “We can laser scan their entire vehicle as an insurance policy in case of damage.”

And if the car is crashed subsequently? “We can bring it back to its original construction,” said Kettner. “We’ve had to do it already.”

Yes, a shop like Kettner’s could build an accurate GTO replica today without 3D printing tech. But it would be a modern car, given away by the condition of the sheet metal and the perfection of the castings. It would be like a GTO—it wouldn’t be a GTO.

A scanned car reproduced by 3D printing techniques, on the other hand, would reproduce all of the original’s idiosyncrasies and imperfections. “We can re-create the actual component with all the flaws that were built into it the first time,” Kettner says.

Piece by Piece

A common example is the plastic windshield-washer fluid bottle found on priceless classics like the aforementioned Ferrari GTO. The bottles were made without much thought, given that cheap plastic gets brittle with age and exposure to heat until it collapses in a pile of dust. Before that happens, Kettner can scan the bottle and reproduce an exact duplicate from a better, modern plastic using one of Fused Innovation’s four different 3D printers.

Sure, any container of similar volume would work, and for most restorations providing water to the washer nozzles is all that matters. But for special cars the replacement must be exactly the same, and 3D printing permits that.

It is such plastic parts that have given restorers headaches as they contemplated the shift from brass-era cars circa World War I to cars containing plastic starting in the 1930s. “The fear has always been as soon as we get into these plastic cars, it is going to become completely impossible because of the cost of making molds,” says Garrick Green, associate professor of automotive technology at McPherson College, a school that trains students to work for top restoration shops.

The 3D printers aren’t limited to creating plastic parts, either. Some machines can now build metal parts, which will be a boon to the auto restoration industry. Furthermore, the machines that can produce only plastic ones can be used to craft plastic models that will help to create the molds for metal parts.

Green cites the DeSoto grille that is a popular hot-rod modification for 1950s Mercurys as a place where the new tech will come in handy. The grille’s teeth are die-cast zinc parts that deteriorate over time. Worse, none of the nine teeth are identical. By scanning the teeth individually, a shop can precisely re-create each of them.

Recently, Kettner had a more complex challenge with a shattered cast housing for a privacy-curtain motor drive in a classic Rolls-Royce. His team reassembled the part from the pieces, gluing them together so they could be scanned. Then irregularities in the scan were manually cleaned up, resulting in a perfect CAD model of the original cast housing. From this, the 3D printer was able to create a wax form for investment casting of a new part that was a perfect replacement.

For exotic cars, even mundane parts like rubber boots on wiring connections are candidates for 3D re-creation. When originality is crucial, Fused Innovation can make an exact duplicate for about $1200. “Would you make a $1200 rubber boot for a ’73 Nova?” Kettner says. Probably not. “For a multimillion-dollar Ferrari, you just do it.” And that $1200 might even be a bargain compared with the cost of finding an original—an original that would be as fragile as the one it’s replacing.

The New Classic Car Shop

Fused Innovation has four 3D rapid prototyping machines: a 3D Systems stereolithography machine; a Z Corp fused-powder machine for making casting molds; an Objet polyjet machine that uses inkjet-printer technology to make solid parts; and an Optimax machine originally designed for creating lenses that the shop repurposed for making solid metal components. With this battery of machines, Fused Innovation is able to re-create nearly anything.

Don’t expect all garages to start looking like this, though, Kettner says. Few cars demand such perfection, leaving plenty of work for traditional shops that can’t afford the capital expenditure of buying fancy machines. When those shops encounter the need to have a part 3D printed, they could use scanning and CAD tools themselves to create computer models of the needed part.

Green says that’s why he has been studying Fused Innovation’s techniques: so McPherson College can start teaching the CAD classes needed for capturing and correcting images of old parts. Then a shop could send out the CAD model to service shops that have 3D printers, and pay them to print the occasional part.

There’s a lot more to come as shops where the public and print 3D models spread around the nation. Congressman Bill Foster of Illinois recently introduced a bill proposing the creation of a nationwide network of such labs, one in every congressional district, where people will have access to 3D printing technology for their own projects.

“It’s very empowering for a young person to actually build something,” Foster told The Boston Globe. “Kids no longer take apart automobile engines. You can’t realistically take apart an iPod, like you could a radio. This is giving kids the opportunity for innovation.”

That goes for kids and expert car restorers both: For that 3D printer to produce a Ferrari, you’re going to have to provide the model for the parts. So get coding and hacking.

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Theodore Roosevelt–A Bully Birthday!

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Soource: Library of Congress

By Barbara Orbach Natanson

Teddy Roosevelt’s birthday was on Oct. 27th, we have ongoing cause for celebration.  A project to broaden access to images relating to Roosevelt’s life and times is putting new digital images and descriptions online each week.

This year, we have been digitizing images in the Theodore Roosevelt section of the Prints & Photographs Division’s Presidential File—a file in our reading room that provides access to pictures that generally came into the Library one-by-one, rather than in a collection, and that show various aspects of a president’s life.

Already, the online images enable you to see Rooseveltat many stages of his life, as well as members of his family and his cabinet, his many speaking events, his homes, even his horseback riding style.  And the quantity and variety will grow as we complete the cataloging, ultimately providing access to more than 1,000 images relating to Rooseveltfrom the Presidential File alone.

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Abu Dhabi Media Summit: Disney Chief sees 3D Printer in Every Home

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Source: Alarabiya.com
Ben Flanagan, Al Arabiya,Abu Dhabi

The head of Walt Disney predicts that 3D printers will be in every home within a decade, saying that such technology will “revolutionize” the media industry.

Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, said the technology – which allows consumers to make three-dimensional models from downloadable designs – will “revolutionize” the way the industry works.

“I think every home within 10 years – probably less than that – will have its own 3D printer, just as many homes now have a 2D or laser printer,” he said.

The technology has uses in the media and entertainment industries, Bird added. These include printing Star Wars dolls with bespoke features for sale at Disney theme parks, he said. “We’ll be working with technology where we can easily capture the facial features of every guest… and put it on to dolls,” Bird told the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, which started today.

3D future
Commentators said the future of 3D printing depends on what is available for consumers to download.

“At the moment, the limitation for 3D printing has been about having 3D digital content. If you don’t have 3D data to input, you can’t really produce the output,” Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer for the UAE electronics retailer Jacky’s, told Al Arabiya. Current uses for the technology include commercial and industrial uses, such as dental and medical uses, Panjabi said.

But more widespread uses of the technology are not far away, he added.

“We’re still a few years away where it’ll reach mass adoption but we’ll start to see some traction in 2014 and 2015,” Panjabi said.

“In the long term, 3D will be everywhere and will change the way we do things. It’ll disrupt supply chains as you don’t need to ship spare parts across the world and store them in warehouses, you can simply print-on-demand.”

At MAM-A Inc., we offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.
Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

 

HP to Enter 3D Printer Market in Mid-2014 Says CEO Meg Whitman

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Source: theregister.com

HP CEO Meg Whitman on stage at the Canalys Channels Forum in Bangkok

 

By Simon Sharwood, 23rd October 2013

Faster, cheaper, kit on the way for service providers.

Canalys Channels Forum HP CEO Meg Whitman has told the Canalys Channels Forum inBangkok that the company will enter the 3D printer market in the middle of 2014.

“We are excited about 3D printing,” Whitman said, adding that it is a natural business for HP to enter given its heritage in printers. “We want to lead this businesses. HP labs is looking at it.”

The things HP’s boffins are considering is the time it takes to print and object. “To print a bottle can take eight to ten hours. That’s all very interesting, but it is like watching ice melt,” she said. Lower cost is also on the agenda.

“3D printing is in its infancy” she said. “It is a big opportunity and we are all over it. We will have something by the middle of next year.”

That “something” will be aimed at service providers to help them establish 3D printing bureaux. Whitman said HP is asking “how do we commercialise to print faster, at lower price points?, to enable service providers?”

Whitman did not say just what form HP’s 3D printing product will take, over than to say it will be a “new technology”.

She added that she does not expect 3D printing will quickly become a big business.
“These businesses go along, get a little traction, go along, get a little more traction, then hit the knee of the curve.” Whitman feels 3D printing’s knee is around three years off. ®
At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
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How 3-D Printing Works – Turning Conventional Manufacturing on its Head

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By: Bob Tita

Wall Street Journal

People have traditionally made things, from doorknobs to scalpels to engine cylinders, in one of two ways. They start with a solid block or sheet of metal, wood or other material and cut, stamp, drill or shave it to create a desired shape. Or they use a mold made of metal or sand, pour liquefied plastic or metal into it and let it cool to create a metal casting or molded plastic part. Now for something completely different.

Three-dimensional printing and other forms of what is known as additive manufacturing use neither machining nor molds. They build an object from the bottom up by piling razor-thin layers of material on top of each other until a three-dimensional shape emerges. The computer-guided technology enables individuals to create objects, particularly prototypes, without a shop full of metal presses, cutting lathes or plastic injection molds.

There are a variety of processes for 3-D printing. Some of the most widely used rely on a printer that makes objects from powdered material. A 3-D printer bears little resemblance to a document printer in an office. It has two major parts: a “build box” that contains a smooth, thin bed of finely ground material such as pulverized stainless steel or powdered plastic; and a printing head. Depending on the type of printer, the head contains either a heat source, such as a laser or an electron beam, that melts the powdered material or jets that spray binder over the powder in a precise pattern. The binder functions as a glue for the material as an object is built.

The world-wide market for 3-D printing, which includes materials, machines and service, totaled $2.2 billion last year, up 29% from 2011, according to industry estimates. But the process has some limitations. For high-volume jobs, 3-D printing can’t yet match the speed and efficiency of traditional fabrication methods and machinery. Not all materials are suitable for powder-based additive manufacturing, and not all objects, particularly those made of metal, are able to stand up to high-stress use. For manufacturers of 3-D equipment, the future of their nascent industry depends on broadening the appeal of their equipment by expanding its uses and versatility.

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Take a Journey Through the History of Popular Photography

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Source: kodakgallery.com

The Kodak Gallery takes you on a journey through the history of popular photography, from the world’s first photographs to the digital snapshots of today. Most of the items on display in the gallery are taken from our collection of 35,000 objects and images donated by Kodak Ltd.

This area of the gallery tells the story of the invention of photography explains how discoveries in chemistry and the action of light resulted in the first permanent images – photographs (literally ‘written with light’). You can examine the work of Niépce, Talbot and Daguerre who were the pioneers of early photography, and view the camera obscura, invented hundreds of years before the birth of photography.

The discoveries made by Talbot and Daguerre in 1839 rapidly led to the exploration and development of the photographic process, and in 1841 the first commercial portrait studios appeared. Learn about the early commercial use of photography and how portraiture became the most popular application for the new medium. On display is the earliest known photograph of a Daguerrotype portrait studio at work and a selection of original photographs from the 1840s onwards which used this process.

We have reconstructed a typical photographic portrait studio c.1865, the design of which did not alter greatly until well into the 20th century. To keep exposures as short as possible it was important for the studio to be well lit – you will notice that one of the walls and the ceiling are illuminated. This would have been done using natural light, hence the name ‘daylight studio’. You will also see a replica collodion negative, which was the mainstay of the photographic industry for four decades, having superseded the Daguerrotype in the 1860s.

During the 1860s there was a popular craze for collecting and displaying portraits of family, friends and celebrities of the day. Next to the Daylight Studio we have recreated a Victorian Drawing Room where you can view a range of ambrotypes which use the ‘wet plate’ collodion process, and the popular carte de visite portraits of the era. A carte de visite is a small paper print mounted on a visiting card or displayed in cases, ornate albums and intricate frames, a selection of which you can view in our Victorian Drawing Room.

Examine the move from photography being confined to professionals and a few wealthy amateurs, to its emergence as a truly popular pastime. In the 1880s, more convenient, more sensitive and simpler to use ‘dry’ photographic plates were introduced; this was followed by the introduction of the Kodak camera in 1888 and the Brownie camera in 1900. You can take a walk around our Kodak display cases to view cameras from the 1880s onwards.

While photography developed as a popular pastime, many amateurs began to take the practice more seriously. Take a look at the enthusiastic amateurs who joined photographic clubs and societies, read photographic books and magazines and entered competitions. See the trophy and medals from the Kodak International Competition of 1931, and the Leica camera, which was the first commercially available camera and successful due to its compact size, strength and rapidity of use.
The period following the Second World War saw the demise of the box camera, and in its place, the emergence of the Instamatic camera, Polaroid instant photography and the (still) hugely popular 35mm SLR camera. Read about the British photographic industry facing increasing competition fromJapan and theFar East, and color photography becoming the predominant medium in the 1960s. You can view all of the popular models from the post-war years right through to the digital revolution.

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Cloud Storage Service Craters Nirvanix Failure Leaves Customers in the Lurch

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Source: Electronic Engineering Journal
By Jim Turley

October 9, 2013
Let me just start by saying, “I Told You So.”

Cloud-storage company Nirvanix just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, abruptly shutting its doors and informing its customers that they have exactly two weeks to come get their data.

Two whole weeks. For every customer to retrieve all the data that was presumably (a) massive enough to require offsite cloud storage, and (b) important enough to require offsite cloud storage.

What are you going to do, start a marathon download from Nirvanix’s servers to yours? And then upload it all again to a different service? Hope you’ve got a really fast connection at your office. Alternatively, you’ve got two weeks to hustle your butt down to Nirvanix’s San Diego headquarters with a bunch of DVDs, tapes, or USB drives under your arm.

Receptionist: “May I help you?”

You: “Excuse me, I’m here to back up my data, please.”

Receptionist: “The line forms out in the parking lot. Have a nice day”

What a sketchy business, yet investors poured $70 million into Nirvanix over its lifetime. From a marketing perspective, it’s utterly undifferentiated. It’s storage. How is one company’s offsite disk farm any different than another company’s offsite disk farm? How do you compete on anything other than price per gigabyte, bandwidth, or – hysterically – security, all of which are undifferentiated commodities?
In an era of steadily increasing disk capacity and steadily decreasing disk prices, many people inexplicably buck the trend and rent disks from somebody else. Somebody far away, with their own business goals and their own idea of speed, reliability, and security. Somebody holding your data. Well, for a while, at least.

Let’s say you buy a new computer. It’s got a shiny new processor, lots of RAM, a high-resolution screen, and the latest version of Linux, MacOS, Windows, or whatever you prefer. The new machine is all yours, except for the disk drive, which belongs to XYZ Corp. inCorpus Christi,Texas. Yessiree, the storage in your computer isn’t actually in your computer. It’s off someplace else because… uh… why did we do it this way again?

Oh, that’s right: better performance. Instead of connecting the disk drive with a six-inch SATA cable, it’s connected with a thousand-mile­-long, packet-switched Internet connection. A connection that doesn’t belong to you, but rather to an amalgam of telecommunications conglomerates that sell you a monthly subscription to use their wires to store and retrieve your own data. A subscription that allows said company to censor the data passing over its wires if it deems such content inappropriate. Or to disconnect you entirely, without benefit of trial or even evidence, if some random copyright holder decides you’re untrustworthy.

A connection that can fail at any time, separating you from your data. A connection that can be monitored, tapped, slowed, stopped, corrupted, disconnected, or diverted. Sometimes even on purpose.

Cloud storage is the world’s longest, slowest, and most expensive SATA cable.
Sure, local disk drives can fail. Most of us have lost data to a disk crash at one time or another. Making backups is a good idea. Storing them offsite is an even better idea. But relying on the cloud for main storage, let alone for critical backups, seems deliberately beef-witted.

It’s not as if these services have a great track record, either. Cloud company MediaMax (later renamed The Linkup), had a wee little scripting error that accidentally deleted the data of 3.5 million customers. Oops. A year later, they did it again, but then had the good sense to shut down the company.

The mighty Amazon was brought down twice in the same month following a thunderstorm. So now your data is subject to the weather. Can lightning affect your own computer? Of course, but it won’t take 1.3 million other people down with it. A single point of storage means a single point of failure (even if it’s a really big single point).

And then there’s the security angle. People wring their hands over NSA spying, PRISM, warrantless searches, and privacy rights – and then push their data to SkyDrive, iCloud, Amazon S3, Box, Dropbox, SoftLayer, and similar commercially motivated cloud stores which, let’s not forget, are doing this for the money. This despite the revelation that most or all of those firms have already shared their customers’ data without their knowledge or consent.

Nirvanix’s failure also highlights more mundane commercial hazards. Simply by running out of money, cloud companies put their customers at risk. Service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee 100% uptime, routine backups, and secure facilities are useless; contracts are enforceable only when the company signing it is still in business. Close the doors and you’re off the hook. So sorry.
What if, in a desperate last-ditch attempt to shore up their finances, your cloud company sells your data to Amazon or Google or Fredrick’s ofHollywood? What if it’s shared with competitors (either theirs or yours) or auctioned off to advertisers? It’s all very gratifying to sue their asses, but the damage will already be done.

Maybe it’s time to stock up on the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

 

Get to Know the Library of Congress Collections

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The Library of Congress invites you to explore history visually by looking at interesting photos from our collections. The Library of Congress contains timeless treasures and is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps.

By way of background, Library of Congress staff often make digital versions of our popular image collections available online as quickly as possible by relying primarily on the identifying information that came with the original photos. That text can be incomplete and is even inaccurate at times. We welcome your contribution of names, descriptions, locations, tags, and also your general reactions.

The Library’s Prints and Photographs Division houses some 14 million items, ranging from historical photographs and architectural drawings to advertising labels and posters from all over the world. You can find more than one million pictures among the digitized collections in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog at theLibrary of Congress Web site. You might also enjoy the special presentations of photos also appear in American Memory and Exhibitions.

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3D Printing – Integral to Discovery

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Tomorrow’s engineers, designers and problem solvers deserve every tool available to build a brilliant future. 3D printing fuels limitless creativity when students get to see, hold and test their ideas in real space.

Bringing 3D printing into the classroom exposes learners to the same cutting-edge technologies they’ll encounter in their careers. It gives them a jump-start on tomorrow’s challenges. 3D Printing breaks barriers with unmatched material capabilities, including impressive detail, precision and durability.

The Afinia H-Series 3D Printer provides a true “Out of the Box 3D Printing Experience” as the 3D Printer comes fully assembled, with easy to install software for both the PC and Mac. The Afinia H-Series can prototype a part or model that is up to 5 inches cubed in dimension. The output is accurate within .2mm (8 thousandths), and has 30% of the strength of injection molded parts.

The 3D Software features an easy-to-use interface for laying out, orienting, duplicating, and scaling parts. Simply use the included utility to calibrate the printhead height, and within minutes you are printing. It easily imports .stl files, and the output can be customized in terms of the amount of support material and “raft” (base support) printed. Breakaway support material is simple to remove, and tools for aiding the breakaway are included. Design files can be created using online software, professional software such as SolidWorks™, or by downloading from the extensive online community for free.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

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Designed to Last
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Blokify 3D Modeling Software

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Source:makezine.com
By: Goli Mohammadi

Last month, at World Maker Faire New York‘s 3D Printer Village, I had the pleasure of meeting two enthusiastic, bright makers, Jenny Kortina and Brett Cupta, who were sharing their brand new creation with the community: Blokify. Their custom block-based 3D modeling software makes it easy for folks, especially kids, to build object models, which they can then send directly to a home 3D printer or get printed through Blokify’s service. Giving kids easy access to designing and printing their own toys has great impact on creative potential. I was impressed with their clean, slick, approachable interface, and they had a steady stream of engaged Fairgoers interacting with their displays all weekend long. We chatted with Jenny to find out more.

1. What inspired the creation of Blokify?
I started playing with Arduino a few years ago. I built everything from a internet-controlled treat machine for my dog to an internet-controlled door opener. Every time I built a project I would have to custom-make parts. For example, for the treat machine I replaced the coin mech with a custom-built servo controller. I had been reading about 3D printers for a while and thought getting one would allow me to make perfect parts for my project, but the price point was too high.

When I was walking around the the tent where you buy stuff at Maker Faire New York 2012, I bumped into Brook Drumm and the Printrbot Jr. It was $400. I was sold. I got home, unpacked my Printrbot and spent the next two days finishing assembly and getting it working with my computer. My first test print was a companion cube from Thingiverse, and the moment it was done, printing changed my life. I saw and was holding the power of 3D printing. From there I started downloading and printing loads of things from Thingiverse. After a few months I wanted a more refined printer (better prints and better/non-hacky slicer software), so I bought a Replicator 2. Once I had the Rep it was time to start to learn how to model. I did my internet research and decide SketchUp was the way to go (looking back I should have used SolidWorks). After many hours of self teaching and a weekend class, I was able to make basic models in SketchUp that were printable.

After seeing open source software and getting the Printrbot to work, then using a Rep 2 and seeing how much better the slicer/hardware was, it was clear that the hardware and slicer software were getting there, and will be better and better. The huge gap is in the modeling software — it’s way too hard to use, and that’s where Blokify comes in.

2. What was the R&D process like?
We are building something no one has ever built, so the entire project is R&D. We have an agile development cycle, so we are constantly prototyping, tweaking, scratching and rebuilding things. Our goal is to deliver 3D modeling software anyone can use, which means there are no tools in our software, just blocks. Every motion is a gesture — we spent weeks building our gestures, making sure each one is a natural way to interacts with the blocks.

3. Who is involved in the project and what are their roles?
I have a co-founder, Brett Cupta. If we had titles he’d be CEO and I’d be CCO. Brett handles the business end and I’m products. Brett and I have known each other since high school. We also partnered with a 3rd party dev firm fromAustralia, Two Bulls — they are building the actual product.

4. Tell us about yourself: what is your background and how did you get started making?
I’ve been making since I could walk. My mom used to call me her little MacGyver, Mac for short. I guess it really started with Duplo, then Lego, then taking apart things in the house, etc. — the typical maker story. As I got older I got into writing computer software, then Arduino.

Professionally I worked atSesame Streetin the digital department for four years, helping design their digital products — iPad apps, websites, etc. Brett, my cofounder, worked at Deloitte for five years, then another startup, AirWatch, for two years.

5. How was Blokify received at World Maker Faire New York?
Amazing — once people understood what we were up to, their faces literally lit up. One thing we noticed was that there were a lot of teachers who were super interested in our product. Schools are receiving 3D printers either through grants or just buying them outright, but the teachers aren’t trained in CAD. Since our software is super simple, the teachers can easily learn it and pass the knowledge on to their students. We aren’t making educational software, but would love to see our product used in schools and believe it’s a perfect match.

6. Tell us about your favorite part of the weekend.
I was at my booth the entire time, but my favorite moment wouldn’t have changed had I been able to walk around. Hands down my favorite part of the weekend was seeing the look on people’s faces when they realized what our software does. It was as though watching their smile form synced to them understanding — it was one of the proudest moments in my life.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

 

What’s so Hot About 3D Printing?

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Source: www.3ders.org

In the press today the 3D printing topic is HOT! The 3D printing technology made its way to the technological world in the year 1986, but not gain importance until 1990. It was not that popular outside the world of engineering, architecture and manufacturing.

3D printing is also known as desktop fabrication, it can form any material that can be obtained as a powder. For creating an object you need a digital 3D-model. You can scan a set of 3D images, or draw it using computer-assisted design or CAD software. You can also download them from internet. The digital 3D-model is usually saved in STL format and then sent to the printer. The process of “printing” a three-dimensional object layer-by-layer with equipment, which is quite similar with ink-jet printers.

One of the most important applications of 3D printing is in the medical industry. With 3D printing, surgeons can produce mockups of parts of their patient’s body which needs to be operated upon.

3D printing make it possible to make a part from scratch in just hours. It allows designers and developers to go from flat screen to exact part.

Nowadays almost everything from aerospace components to toys are getting built with the help of 3D printers.

3D printing can provide great savings on assembly costs because it can print already assembled products. With 3D printing, companies can now experiment with new ideas and numerous design iterations with no extensive time or tooling expense. They can decide if product concepts are worth to allocate additional resources. 3D printing could even challenge mass production method in the future.

3D printing is going to impact so many industries, such as automotive, medical, business & industrial equipment, education, architecture, and consumer-product industries.

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MAM-A
Designed to Last
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Photographs Taken With Kodak’s First Commercial Camera Are Now 125 Years Old‏

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Woman in a rowing boat, about 1890. Collection of National Media Museum/Kodak Museum

Source: HuffingtonPost

Remember when Kodak created its first commercial camera, a nifty invention that boasted the slogan ” You Press the Button, We Do the Rest”?

You probably don’t, because this feat happened 125 years ago when George Eastman introduced the second Kodak camera ever made. The contraption looked almost nothing like the devices we’re used to, but it brought photography into the homes of everyday people with, well, the press of a button. And a fairly reasonable price of $25 — a cost that amounts to around $600 today, around $600, according to Design Taxi.

Thanks to a little UK-based institution known as the National Media Museum, we’re able to look back on history and peruse some of the very first amateur photographs  ever taken. Snapped with the Kodak No. 1 (the first Kodak camera was simply named “Kodak”), the images provide a striking, black-and-white glimpse into life in the 1890s.

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Designed to Last
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Data Loss Statistics

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Source:Boston Computing Network

The following statistics were gathered from various sources:

1. 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year. Given the number of PCs used in US businesses in 1998, that translates to approximately 4.6 million data loss episodes.

2. At a conservative estimate, data loss cost US businesses $11.8 billion in 1998. (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith).

3. 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year. 70% fail within five years. (Home Office Computing Magazine).

4. 31% of PC users have lost all of their files due to events beyond their control.

5. 34% of companies fail to test their tape backups, and of those that do, 77% have found tape back-up failures.

6. 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster.

7. 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.

8. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington).

9. American business lost more than $7.6 billion as a result of viruses during first six months of 1999. (Research by Computer Economics).

10. Companies that aren’t able to resume operations within ten days (of a disaster hit) are not likely to survive. (Strategic Research Institute).

11. Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in theUnited States. (Mozy Online Backup).

Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of $7,500 and success is not guaranteed.
At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

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Designed to Last
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Results: How Many Photos Do We Take Each Week? (POLL)

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Source: Darren Rowse  editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

It’s time to reveal the results of our most recent reader poll which asked how many photos our readers take in an average week.

The poll was responded to by 50,142 readers and here are the results.

All in all given that our site is read by 3.5 million visitors a month – there’s a lot of images being taken every month by our community.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

NASA to Launch 3D Printer into Space to Help Supply Astronauts

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Source: Associated Press

NASA is preparing to launch a 3D printer into space next year, a toaster-sized game changer that greatly reduces the need for astronauts to load up with every tool, spare part or supply they might ever need.

The printers would serve as a flying factory of infinite designs, creating objects by extruding layer upon layer of plastic from long strands coiled around large spools. Doctors use them to make replacement joints and artists use them to build exquisite jewelry.

In NASA labs, engineers are 3D printing small satellites that could shoot out of the Space Station and transmit data to earth, as well as replacement parts and rocket pieces that can survive extreme temperatures.

“Any time we realize we can 3D print something in space, it’s like Christmas,” said inventor Andrew Filo, who is consulting with NASA on the project. “You can get rid of concepts like rationing, scarce or irreplaceable.”
The spools of plastic could eventually replace racks of extra instruments and hardware, although the upcoming mission is just a demonstration printing job.

“If you want to be adaptable, you have to be able to design and manufacture on the fly, and that’s where 3D printing in space comes in,” said Dave Korsmeyer, director of engineering at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, about 35 miles south of San Francisco.
For the first 3D printer in space test slated for fall 2014, NASA had more than a dozen machines to choose from, ranging from $300 desktop models to $500,000 warehouse builders.

All of them, however, were built for use on Earth, and space travel presented challenges, from the loads and vibrations of launch to the stresses of working in orbit, including microgravity, differing air pressures, limited power and variable temperatures.

As a result, NASA hired Silicon Valley start-up Made In Space to build something entirely new.

“Imagine an astronaut needing to make a life-or-death repair on the International Space Station,” said Aaron Kemmer, CEO of Made in Space. “Rather than hoping that the necessary parts and tools are on the station already, what if the parts could be 3D printed when they needed them?”

When staffing his start up in 2010, Kemmer and his partners warned engineers there would be ups and downs — nauseating ones. In more than a dozen flights in NASA’s “vomit comet” reduced-gravity aircraft, Made In Space scientists tested printer after printer.

Last week at their headquarters on NASA’s campus, Made In Space engineers in lab coats and hair nets tinkered with a sealed 3D printer in a dust free cleanroom, preparing the models for further pre-launch tests.

As proof of its utility, the team revisited the notorious 1970 moon-bound Apollo 13 breakdown, when astronauts were forced to jerry-rig a lifesaving carbon dioxide filter holder with a plastic bag, a manual cover and duct tape. A 3D printer could have solved the problem in minutes.

“Safety has been one of our biggest concerns,” said strategic officer Michael Chen.Sparks, breakages and electric surges can have grave consequences in the space station. “But when we get it right, we believe these are the only way to manifest living in space,” he said.

Space-bound printers will also, eventually, need to capture gasses emitted from the extruded plastics, be able to print their own parts for self-repairs and have some abilities to recycle printed products into new ones.

Scott Crump, who helped develop 3D printing technology in 1988 by making a toy frog for his daughter with a glue gun in his kitchen, said he never conceived how pivotal it could be for space travel. But he said that until metal becomes commonly used in 3D printers, the applications will be limited.

“The good news is that you don’t have to have this huge amount of inventory in space, but the bad news is now you need materials, in this case filament, and a lot of power,” he said.
NASA and other international space agencies are pressing forward with 3D printing. Mastering space manufacturing, along with finding and producing water and food on the moon or other planets, could lead to living on space.

Last month, the space agency awarded Bothell, Wash.-based Tethers Unlimited $500,000 toward a project to use 3D printing and robots to build massive antennas and solar power generators in space by 2020. It replaces the expensive and cumbersome process of building foldable parts on Earth and assembling them in orbit.

For Made In Space’s debut, when it’s shuttled up to the space station aboard a spaceflight cargo resupply mission, the initial prints will be tests — different small shapes to be studied for strength and accuracy. They’re also discussing with NASA about what the first real piece that they should print will be.

Whatever it is, it will be a historic and symbolic item sure to end up in a museum someday.

“It’s not something we’re discussing publicly right now,” said CEO Kemmer. Then, Jason Dunn, the chief technology officer, beckoned, dropping his voice as he grinned.

“We’re going to build a Death Star,” he joked softly, referring to the giant space station in the “Star Wars” movies that could blow up planets. “Then it’s all going to be over.”

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Historical Photo Collection: New Videos Provide a Visual Introduction

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Dust Bowl Drought - 1930's

By: Barbara Orbach Natanson
Source:
Library of Congress

How can one ever come to understand a collection of 170,000 pictures released by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI0 photographs? The collection is complex, consisting of many interrelated parts. There are visual and historical gems contained in the collection. And there are aesthetic and intellectual rewards await those who explore it.

Every expedition needs a good guide, which is why I’m especially glad that a truly visual orientation to the FSA/OWI Collection is now available, courtesy of a Library of Congress colleague who has studied it in detail and with a documentary photographer’s eye.  Carl Fleischhauer, who co-authored a book about the collection, Documenting America, [1] provides a two-part video introduction to the collection and the ways in which it supports research.

Carl sketches the history of this famous photography project that documented American life from the Great Depression to the first years of World War II (and he does it in just a little over ten minutes!). As Carl makes clear through sample photographs from the collection:  “The appeal of the photographs is the way, taken together, they offer a rich and varied look at American people and places – farmers working in their fields, family members in their homes, and folks shopping at the A&P…some are pure poetry, evoking another time and place.”

Carl’s insights about the photographs and how they came to be made have long fed my enthusiasm for the FSA/OWI Collection.  I’m so pleased that now, with the help of Library of Congress colleagues from the ITS Multimedia Team and the Digital Reference Section, others can have a chance to learn about the FSA/OWI documentary effort from Carl.

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Ann Rosener, Photographer Documenting the Home Front 1935 – 1945

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Photograph, between 1935 and 1945.

Source: Library of Congress

A new biographical essay about photographer Ann Rosener (1914-2012) sheds light on her wartime work as she focused on the contributions of women workers and other aspects of the World War II home front.

Women in war. Supercharger plant workers. To replace men who had been called to armed service, many young girls like 19-year-old Jewel Halliday took jobs never before held by women. Jewel’s job was shuttling workers between two Midwest war plant. Allis Chalmers Manufacture Company.

In the early 1940s Rosener documented preparations for war and home front activities for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) by contributing some 800 photographs to the FSA/OWI (Office of War Information) Collection. Her work fell into three broad categories: 1) women working outside the home; 2) women practicing home economics in their own homes and providing health and nutrition services; and, 3) people overcoming social barriers to work together for the good of the country.

One theme showed women and others filling essential jobs formerly reserved for able-bodied men, many who were off serving in the armed forces. Rosener showed women learning aviation science from a nun; former actresses producing aircraft motors; former professional baseball players building ships; and people crippled by polio manufacturing small machine parts.

A second theme instructed women in “making do” on the home front so that more resources could be allocated to the war. They were instructed in “conservation of durable goods”–vacuuming refrigerator coils and defrosting freezers regularly to reduce electricity use, remaking worn out adult clothing to fit children, walking rather than driving to run errands, and salvaging cooking grease to sell for bomb production.

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An Auto House

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September 20, 2013 by Jeff Bridgers
Source: Library of Congress

 

Auto House of Will A. Harris of Texas, Washington, D.C. Photograph by National Photo Company, September 2, 1924.

This September 1924 National Photo Company image of an auto house caught my eye not only because of the delight it sparked in seeing such a novel vehicle, but also because the lack of contextual information set me to wondering and wanting to know more. For example, assuming that the photo shows Mr. Harris and his wife and their daughter, I want to know if this is their primary residence, in which case the auto house is an early and quintessentially mobile home. Or, is it an archetypal recreational vehicle, a custom-made camp-mobile?

I wonder if Mr. Harris customized the auto house himself after conceiving the idea one day in a burst of imagination. I can picture him working many evenings in his yard bringing his vision to fruition. Finally, I hope that the Harris family drove the auto house fromTexas to Washington,D.C., as I envision the many smiles and waves the sight of the vehicle drew from people witnessing the passing-by of these intrepid caravaners.

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Four Steps to Protect Your Photos

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Source: yourdigitallife.com

It may be hard to believe, but it’s true: your digital photos captured with the latest and greatest technology may not last as long as the old film photos you snapped a generation ago. The reason is simple – in the old days, the only way you’d lose your photos is if some massive catastrophe struck – a fire, or flood or any event that would physically destroy those photo prints.

Today, in the digital world, your images can disappear in the blink of an eye thanks to a hard drive crash. And, unlike fires, floods and tornadoes a hard drive crash is a very common occurrence. Hard drives last on average about five years. Hard drive crashes are not a matter of “if” but “when” – and when your hard drive goes, it could very well take all your digital photos and videos – your digital memories – with it. Imagine the photos of your child’s birth and first steps wiped out forever. Yikes!
So it’s very important that you devise a photo protection plan to ensure your digital photos will last as long as your film prints. Here’s a four point plan that can save your digital memories.

Step 1: Stay Organized. Before you can protect your photos and videos, you need to know where they all are. If you’re not using some form of photo software, like Picasa, to organize your photos and are instead trying to deal with folders on your PC, you’re not as organized as you can be. Photo software programs can scour your computer and find and organize all the images and videos it finds. Using software offers another benefit – they offer tools to protect your photos. To learn more about organizing your images, see Four Steps to Organizing Your Digital Photos.

Step 2: Make a Copy (or Two). To keep your digital photos and videos safe what you need to do is make a copy of those digital files and store them on something in addition to your hard drive. The idea is to have multiple copies of the same photo on different storage mediums. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry it’s pretty straightforward. You have a number of options for storage, CD or DVD discs, external hard drives.

Step 3: Make it a Habit. Depending on what (or where) you choose to store your photos on, you’ll need to be sure you’re regularly copying over any new images. If you use an external drive or online service, this can sometimes be done for you automatically: every time you load a new photo onto your hard drive, it will be automatically copied to an external drive or online server. But if you don’t have this automated option, you’ll have to get into a routine whenever you load new photos onto your computer to also back them up on another storage media.

Step 4: Stay Informed. The trickiest part of any photo protection plan is keeping up with different storage formats. Today, all computers come with DVD drives. In 10 years, chances are, they won’t. If you’re sitting on a pile of DVDs with photos on them, you’re going to have to move them onto another storage format as DVDs become obsolete. If you’re at least somewhat aware of changing technology trends, you’ll be able to stay ahead of this curve and move your images onto updated storage formats as times change.

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3D Printers – Creating Flying Things, Figurines and Much More!

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The Afinia H-Series 3D Printer

Don’t have a 3-D printer yet? A study conducted at Michigan Technological University, considered 20 common household items—smartphone cases, molded replacement parts, figurines, models, toys the list goes on—listed on Thingiverse, then used Google Shopping to work out the maximum and minimum cost of buying them online (not including shipping).

Then, the researchers also calculated how much it would cost to make each using a household 3D printer.

The results are pretty amazing: it would cost in the neighborhood of $500 to buy the items, but just $18 to make using the 3D printer. Clearly, a 3D printer seems expensive initially, but figures suggest that a 3D printer can pay for itself in a time frame of months to years.

The research published in Mechatronics. by Joshua Pearce, who led the research, explains: “With the exponential growth of free designs and expansion of 3D printing, we are creating enormous potential wealth for everyone. You don’t need to be an engineer or a professional technician to set up a 3D printer.

Of course, there’s a time investment involved in downloading designs, tweaking them, and experimenting with manufacturing—but that could be seen as part of the charm, too. If you weren’t excited about 3D printing by now, this news might be just enough to tip you over the edge.

The Afinia H-Series 3D Printer provides a true “Out of the Box 3D Printing Experience” as the 3D Printer comes fully assembled, with easy to install software for both the PC and Mac. The Afinia H-Series can prototype a part or model that is up to 5 inches cubed in dimension. The output is accurate within .2mm (8 thousandths), and has 30% of the strength of injection molded parts.

The 3D Software features an easy-to-use interface for laying out, orienting, duplicating, and scaling parts. Simply use the included utility to calibrate the printhead height, and within minutes you are printing. It easily imports .stl files, and the output can be customized in terms of the amount of support material and “raft” (base support) printed. Breakaway support material is simple to remove, and tools for aiding the breakaway are included. Design files can be created using online software, professional software such as SolidWorks™, or by downloading from the extensive online community for free. The Afinia H-Series 3D printer uses inexpensive, high-quality plastic filament for 3D printing.

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Why Was That Man Dressed as a Bird?

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Scene from “Sanctuary: A Bird Masque,” by Percy MacKaye, Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1913.

Source: Library of Congress

By: Barbara Orbach Natanson
The following is a guest post by Donna Lacy Collins, Photo Preservation Specialist, Prints & Photographs Division.

An exciting part of working with the Library’s collections is finding unexpected and curious images.

When I discovered this picture in the Arnold Genthe archive of photographic negatives, labeled simply “Cornish bird masque,” I knew I had to learn more. Many questions came to mind, starting with “Why is that man dressed as a bird?”

With some research, I learned that the photo shows Mr. George Rublee dressed as a blue heron for a play written in 1913 to discourage the use of bird feathers as decoration for ladies’ hats and clothing. In the early 20th century, birds such as herons and egrets were hunted in large numbers for their plumes. As bird populations became greatly diminished, public concern resulted in citizen advocacy efforts to protect them.

In 1910, the Meriden Bird Club established the Helen Woodruff Smith Bird Sanctuary near Cornish, NH. One of the earliest areas designated to protect wild birds,Meriden became known as “BirdVillage” because of the club’s wide-ranging activities. It sought to create hospitable habitats for numerous bird species and also tested innovations in food, feeders, and bird baths. This area was also home to the Cornish Colony, a lively artists’ enclave for many well-known writers, painters, and composers, including the poet Percy MacKaye. In 1913, Cornish was called the “Summer White House” when President Woodrow Wilson chose Harlakenden House as a retreat.

In August 1913, the bird club manager, naturalist Ernest Harold Baynes, commissioned Percy MacKaye to write a poem to celebrate the new sanctuary. MacKaye wrote, cast, and staged Sanctuary: A Bird Masque in just one month. Sanctuary merged MacKaye’s philosophy of civic theater with the theme of nature conservation.

He described the work as “spontaneous and glad cooperation of artists, neighbors, lovers of nature, imbued with a deep feeling in common–concern for the welfare of wild birds.” Deftly combining verse, music, and dance, Sanctuary focused attention on the harmful plume hunting while celebrating the beauty and value of birds. Nearly sixty Cornish Colony residents joined the cast, fancifully costumed as roughly thirty different birds.

The play debuted on September 12, 1913. President and Mrs. Wilson watched as daughters Margaret and Eleanor Wilson participated in the drama. According to the national press, Sanctuary was a great success.

When MacKaye invited noted photographer Arnold Genthe to document the dress rehearsal, Genthe artistically captured the play’s spirit in both black-and-white negatives and color autochromes. In 1914, the published play was dedicated to Baynes and prominently featured Genthe’s photos. Promotional materials stated “the remarkable color photographs by Arnold Genthe …will furnish practical help in costuming and setting any new production.”

MacKaye invited wide use of Sanctuary to raise awareness of the need for bird protection. The message had popular appeal, and numerous productions were staged across the United States. Within a few years, President Wilson signed legislation enacting the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

September 12, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of Sanctuary’s debut. Genthe’s engaging photographs have remained valuable reference sources for the play.

In August 2013, commemorative performances were held in Woodstock, VT, at the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park and in Cornish, NH, at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.

Was that a bird or a man in the surprising photo that first caught my attention? Both, really; and that one image opened a wonderful door into the poetic celebration of birds in our midst.

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Best free CD and DVD Burning Software for Windows

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Source: digitaltrends.com

The digital age has welcomed new methods for storing and consuming data, “clouds” come to mind, but they will never be as tangible and easily utilized as a copy burned on a physical disc.  Here are some of the best free CD and DVD burning software to help channel your optical-disc burning desires. The ImgBurn offers an additional authoring tools for viewing and editing content:

The ImgBurn
The late great DVD Decrypter may have fallen to the wayside as a result of Macrovision’s cease and desist order, but that doesn’t mean developer Lightning UK hasn’t been busy in the meantime. The latest project to hit the digital limelight, ImgBurn, is a versatile piece of software constructed to handle all manners of formats – some of which still remain incompatible with even the most expensive products.

The lightweight burning application can read and write data from standard DVDs, CDs, ISOs and even proprietary formats like Nero’s NRG, offering compatibility with more than 10 formats from the get-go. The interface is simple and sleek, with six different task modes for writing files, creating disc images, verifying content and discovering burn quality, but it can also seem rather daunting for those looking to simply burn an audio CD or write a few files to a disc.

The installation process is quick, with a basic wizard walking you through the process, but be on the lookout for bundled adware housed within the so-called “recommended” installation.

Advanced settings include adjustments specifically tailored to your drive’s capabilities, allowing you to adjust the maximum burn speed and better reflect the manufacturer settings associated with your hardware, but tweaking the settings is by no means a requirement. Still, the tabs upon tabs of custom settings are welcoming for advanced users looking to make the most of the program’s outstanding capabilities and feature set.

ImgBurn goes hand-in-hand with a steep learning curve given that it’s the most adept software on our roundup. However, the default settings for the six task modes are easy enough to utilize, regardless of your computing experience, and the intuitive help guides and forums are more than enough to keep you afloat should you find yourself faltering within the 13 different settings tabs.

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Archivists without Boarders

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Source: awbuschapter.com

What is Archivists without Borders? Archivists Without Borders is an international organization, the primary objective of which is “cooperation in the sphere of archives work in countries whose documentary heritage is in danger of disappearing or of suffering irreversible damage, with particular emphasis on the protection of human rights.”

AwB was formed in Barcelona, Spain in 1998. Currently, eleven countries have formed chapters and are affiliated with AwB International. These countries are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Ecuador, France, Mexico,
Peru, andUruguay.

AwB in the U.S. allows archivists in the U.S.to be part of an international, collaborative community, and part of a well-established and respected organization.

AwB-US will be independent from SAA and other regional archival organizations. This independence will allow us to take an active role in advocacy and to become involved in projects on a local, national, and international level. AwB-US is not intended to compete with other professional organizations in theU.S., but rather to fulfill a need that is outside of their scope.

There are endangered archives, underrepresented communities, and other projects in theU.S. that merit professional attention.

We can serve as a network for information, a clearinghouse for relevant news and information, and a hub for volunteer activities.

Who can be involved? We invite archivists, librarians, conservators, students, and other professionals to join the working group. It is not necessary to have any experience with international archives, human rights archives, or endangered archives.

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Happy 150th Birthday to Russian Empire Photographer Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii!

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Peasant girls, Russian Empire. Photographed by Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii, 1909.

By:Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.

The Prokudin-Gorskii Collection at the Library of Congress features color photographic surveys of the vast Russian Empire made primarily between 1909 and 1915. Frequent subjects among the 2,600 distinct images include people, religious architecture, historic sites, industry and agriculture, public works construction, scenes along water and railway transportation routes, and views of villages and cities.

Using emerging technological advances in color photography, Prokudin-Gorskii made numerous photographic trips traveling many thousands of miles to systematically document the Russian Empire, which controlled one-sixth of the earth’s land mass at that time. It was the largest empire in history and spanned what today are eleven different times zones.

The Prints & Photographs Division is honored to preserve this remarkable collection, which we acquired in 1948. Reviving the color content in 2000 to 2004, through the ingenious efforts of Lynn Brooks, Walter Frankhauser, and Blaise Agüera y Arcas, has also made Prokudin-Gorskii’s extraordinary images available online for all the world to see.  Much new information about the sites shown in the photographs and fascinating pairings of then-and-now views are being gathered as a result. It’s really Prokudin-Gorskii who gives us a birthday gift– the special pleasure of seeing a vanished world captured in color by a master photographer.

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Finding Unprinted Photographs is Easier Now

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Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Photograph by John Vachon, July, 1941.

Source: Library of Congress website

September 5, 2013 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

I started out this week to reflect on the joys of summer with one of our “Caught Our Eyes” posts.  It also turned out to be a fine opportunity to celebrate the results of a recent project to improve access to the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) Collection of photographs from the Depression and early World War II home front.

A colleague tipped me off to a picture of boys enjoying ice in the summer heat, but as so often happens, after entering the search words “boys” and “ice” in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, I got sidetracked in looking over my search results.
I got such a kick out of this photo–one of the digitized negatives from the FSA/OWI Collection.

It may have been a photographic “blooper”–the child’s eyes inconveniently closed just as the photographer snapped the picture. But doesn’t it epitomize the sensation of near ecstasy that comes from licking cold ice cream on a hot day?
Tipped off by the “possibly related to” phrase in the title for the photo, I took added pleasure in realizing that finding this photo was a gift resulting from our project to enhance FSA/OWI photo descriptions.  A couple of months ago, I would not have tripped across this photo by typing “boys” and “ice,” because all the title said was “Untitled.”  Through the special project, we’ve added information to the description to associate it with these two other photographs of the boys (quite a study in ice cream pleasure!).

My ice cream ecstasy photo is one of the 70,000 “untitled” negatives in the FSA/OWI Collection.  Why “untitled”? The FSA and OWI did not print all the negatives the photographers shot during the 1930s and 1940s because printing took a lot of resources.  Instead, the FSA/OWI staff printed selected photos  and typed up caption cards only for those images.

When the collection came to the Library of Congress, however, it included all the negatives, both printed and unprinted. And when we first digitized the negatives back in the early 1990s, we digitized them all. For the images that had been printed, we were able to include the descriptive information found on the caption cards. But we had no information for the unprinted negatives, and referred to them as “Untitled.”

Fortunately, the developers of our online catalog long ago created a handy feature to help people browse the negatives in sequence (“Browse neighboring items by call number”). That way, you can see all the pictures and draw some conclusions from the visual similarity of the untitled images to ones that have titles.

This wonderful feature has enabled people to find close variants of well-loved photographs (don’t get too excited, though; we haven’t found any unprinted variants for the most famous series of Migrant Mother photos).

The special “browse” feature brought the 70,000 unprinted negatives back to life!  But to find untitled photographs by a particular photographer or showing a particular subject like “ice cream,” you still had to start from a titled one and hope the neighboring images showed similar themes.

Recently, dedicated volunteers and interns browsed the untitled photographs, starting with the 35mm negatives, and made connections to titled photographs that appeared to be closely related.  Then our talented staff worked out a mechanism for transferring searchable information (titles, photographers, place names, and dates) for the titled photographs into descriptions for the associated untitled photographs, while still retaining the fact that the images had originally been untitled.

More than 18,000 previously untitled images now have searchable information.  So when I typed in “boys” and “ice” – up came a “new” photo that caught my eye.

The associations among titled and untitled images may not always be exact.  But the addition of photographer names and keywords makes many more images ripe for discovery and opens up new paths for research.  Making the images easier to find will help us refine descriptions going forward.

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It’s Here! New Book for Lone Arrangers

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Source: Society of American Archivists

The Lone Arranger: Succeeding in a Small Repository by Christina Zamon of Emerson College offers guidance on how to handle common work demands while promoting archives best practice.

A significant portion of U.S. institutions charged with the preservation of our cultural heritage are small repositories and one-person shops. Rapid advances in technology, increasing regulations or institutional records, and exponential growth in the volume and variety of cultural resources being collected put added pressure on these lone arrangers to find efficient and effective ways to manage their archives.

The Lone Arranger: Succeeding in a Small Repository offers guidance on how to handle common word demands while promoting archives best practice.

Click here for more info and to get yours!

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Society of American Archivists – Archives Week Celebrates Its 25th Year!

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Start Planning Your Archives Week Event NOW! DEADLINE 8/30/2013, 2:00 pm.

This fall, the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (A.R.T.) will be celebrating its 25th Annual New York Archives Week, October 6th – 12th, 2013.

Archives Week events are designed to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of preserving and making accessible our documentary heritage. Activities include a wide range of programming, including lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and tours of repositories, all free and open to the public.

We encourage participation in this big celebration and urge you and your repositories to plan an Archives Week event.

Visit ART for suggested Archives Week activities and more:
http://www.nycarchivists.org/latest_news?mode=PostView&bmi=1352259

 

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What is Digital Preservation and Why do we Need it?

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Source: Wikipedia

Digital preservation can be understood as the series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary,involving the planning, resource allocation, and application of preservation methods and technologies to ensure that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable. It combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure access to reformatted and born digital content regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change. The goal of digital preservation is the accurate rendering of authenticated content over time.

Society’s heritage has been presented on many different materials, including stone, vellum, bamboo, silk, and paper. Now a large quantity of information exists in digital forms, including emails, blogs, social networking websites, national elections websites, web photo albums, and sites which change their content over time. With digital media it is easier to create content and keep it up-to-date, but at the same time there are many challenges in the preservation of this content, both technical and economic.

Unlike traditional analog objects such as books or photographs where the user has unmediated access to the content, a digital object always needs a software environment to render it. These environments keep evolving and changing at a rapid pace, threatening the continuity of access to the content. Physical storage media, data formats, hardware, and software all become obsolete over time, posing significant threats to the survival of the content. This process can be referred to as digital obsolescence.

In the case of born-digital content (e.g., institutional archives, Web sites, electronic audio and video content, born-digital photography and art, research data sets, observational data), the enormous and growing quantity of content presents significant scaling issues to digital preservation efforts. Rapidly changing technologies can hinder digital preservationists work and techniques due to outdated and antiquated machines or technology. This has become a common problem and one that is a constant worry for a digital archivist—how to prepare for the future.

Digital content can also present challenges to preservation because of its complex and dynamic nature, e.g., interactive Web pages, virtual and gaming environments [5], learning objects, social media sites.[6] In many cases of emergent technological advances there are substantial difficulties in maintaining the authenticity, fixity, and integrity of objects over time deriving from the fundamental issue of experience with that particular digital storage medium and while particular technologies may prove to be more robust in terms of storage capacity, there are issues in securing a framework of measures to ensure that the object remains fixed while in stewardship.

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Civil War Faces – New Additions

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Unidentified soldier in Confederate infantry uniform with musket and Bowie knife. Circa: 1861.

March 5, 2012 by Kristi Finefield
Library of Congress 

The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.

“You know the generals. Now meet the young men who made them famous.”

Unidentified soldier in Confederate infantry uniform with musket and Bowie knife. Quarter-plate ambrotypes by unidentified photographer, 1861-65.
That’s how Tom Liljenquist describes the special collection of rare portrait photographs that he continues to build at the Library of Congress to commemorate the American Civil War.

In the online catalog, you can easily see images of the additions of fascinating new photos that expand this remarkable collection every few months. You can also explore the collection from the viewpoint of Union images and Confederate images. Or, search for a subject of your own choosing, such as African Americans, women, a type of weapon, a state name, a photographer’s name, or even the title of a book where an image was published.

The Liljenquist Family Collection is dedicated “In memory of President Abraham Lincoln and the 620,000 Union and Confederate servicemen who died in the American Civil War, 1861-1865.”  The original gift of Liljenquist Collection photographs began with an impressive array of 600 ambrotypes and tintypes in 2010. Two years later, almost 1,000 photographs are freely available online for use in classrooms, publications, and family history projects. Keep your eye out – more photographs are coming!

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Compact Discs Remain The Basic Calling Card and Selling Tool for Every Musician

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Compact discs remain the basic calling card and selling tool for every musician. So why is the CD still so important, when online forms of music are so convenient and popular as well?

Producer Rupert Hine (Duncan Sheik, Tina Turner, Suzanne Vega, and so many others) explained the enduring appeal of CDs this way: “People love to collect things. Make a beautiful object, and they will want it.” As collectors, we get a special thrill from acquiring beautiful physical objects like books, magazines, stamps, paintings, etc. The gorgeous artwork and packaging of a well-designed CD make it collectable, too.

For a more technical explanation, Jupiter Research has noted that music lovers know they can buy a physical CD for their collection, use it as the source for ripping music to an iPod, and still hold on to it as a full resolution backup in case anything goes wrong or the digital format du jour changes yet again.

Preserve your audio collection on MAM-A 24. Kt Gold Digital Audio CD-Rs, available at: http://www.mam-a-store.com/digital-audio.html

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My Summer of Creating Video Tutorials for Personal Digital Archiving

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August 16, 2013 by Susan Manus
Source: Library of Congress 

For the past week, I’ve been working on creating video tutorials for personal digital archiving and I must say – creating these videos is quite fun!

With the various types of video editing software, I find the process to be relatively intuitive. I’m focusing now on a tutorial for archiving emails, and doing my best to make the information easy to follow, while also working in entertaining aspects where I can.

The reason I have been doing all this, is because I am creating tutorial videos for you! As I mentioned in my previous blog post, part of what I am working on during my time volunteering with NDIPP at the Library of Congress is creating tutorial videos on how to carry out certain types of digitizing and archiving of information. By the end of the summer I aim to get two videos done as part of a new series on personal digital archiving.

The video I’m currently working on is a basic tutorial on how to archive emails.

The second video will be on how to scan documents for personal archiving purposes. These will be available eventually on the NDIIPP personal archiving pages. There is already basic information available there in the form of written instructions on how to do these two things. The email guidance is available via this document.  See this  if you want to scan a significant, or meaningful, document or the most recent picture that’s found a home on your refrigerator door drawn by either your kid or you (if you are a kid, that is).  The aim in creating the videos is to further clarify the process, and tutorial videos can be easier to follow then written instructions.

So, for those of you that do prefer to learn via video, I am almost done with the archiving email tutorial. However, it does have to go through some rounds of editing both for the video and audio, and making sure my (lovely, if I do say so) voice-over syncs with the visual component of the tutorial is surprisingly time intensive. The screen recording aspect of the video does mean that, as opposed to following written instructions, you can directly see what you have to physically do on your laptop or other device in order to archive your email. Essentially, it adds a new dimension to step-by-step written instructions.

Both of these videos will be coming out shortly, so stay tuned for their release!

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Best Free CD and DVD Burning Software for all Your Optical-disc Burning Desires

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Source:digitaltrends.com

The digital age has welcomed new methods for storing and consuming data –  “clouds” come to mind – but they will never be as tangible and easily utilized as a copy burned on a physical disc.  Here are some of the best free CD and DVD burning software to help channel your optical-disc burning desires.

If optical discs are a dying breed, then why is that so many of us still seem to be searching for the best ways to produce them? Admittedly, the digital age has welcomed new methods for storing and consuming data – the countless digital media formats and the so-called “cloud” come to mind – but they will never be as tangible and easily utilized as a copy burned on a physical disc that’s capable of being thrown in your stereo or desktop computer. Hell, the guy who sits across the room from me in the DT offices refuses to store his digital data in the cloud for fear of losing his precious multimedia and assorted work documents. He still backs his files up on physical drives and discs. Frankly, he’s what they call an unbeliever, an avid cloud atheist with a whole lotta strife.

However, he makes some great points. Optical discs still provide a fantastic way for listening to music when disconnected from the Internet, watching new movies sans a high-definition

Blu-ray player, and storing your computer data on something you can physically hold. Although both Mac OS X and Windows offer standard disc-burning utilities such as Finder and Windows Media Player, you’re going to have to look elsewhere if you intend to do anything aside from the most basic disc burning procedure.

Here are our picks for the best free CD and DVD burning software to help channel your optical-disc burning desires. The best of them offer additional authoring tools for viewing and editing content, along with coupled ISO creation, and exclude the premium price tag associated with high-end programs like Nero Burning ROM 12. Still, we doubt they’ll make circumventing copyright protection and DVD encryption any easier.

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MAM-A Inc announces the Afinia H-Series 3D Printer

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MAM-A Inc announces the Afinia H-Series 3D Printer that provides a true “Out of the Box 3D Printing Experience”.  The 3D Printer comes fully assembled, with easy to install software for both the PC and Mac. The Afinia H-Series can prototype a part or model that is up to 5 inches cubed in dimension. The output is accurate within .2mm (8 thousandths), and has 30% of the strength of injection molded parts.

The 3D Software features an easy-to-use interface for laying out, orienting, duplicating, and scaling parts. Simply use the included utility to calibrate the printhead height, and within minutes you are printing. It easily imports .stl files, and the output can be customized in terms of the amount of support material and “raft” (base support) printed. Breakaway support material is simple to remove, and tools for aiding the breakaway are included. Design files can be created using online software, professional software such as SolidWorks™, or by downloading from the extensive online community for free.

The Afinia H-Series 3D printer uses inexpensive, high-quality plastic filament for 3D printing.

Warranty is manufacturer’s one year Parts and Labor plus optional 1-year Extended Warranty covering Parts and Labor for $199.

*Easy out-of-box setup & use

*Simple to install 3D Software

*Uses inexpensive 1.75mm ABS plastic

*Includes PC & MAC software

*USB connectivity

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“The Duke” of Longboard

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Duke Kahanamoku Circa 1912By: Jeff Bridgers

A native Hawaiian, Duke Kahanamoku grew up with a love of water sports. “The Duke” became an overnight worldwide sensation when he broke the Olympic record for the 100-meter swim dash at the 1912 Stockholm games. Kahanamoku’s place in the international spotlight is evidenced by the two photographs featured today: one by world-traveler Frank G. Carpenter and the second for the New York-based Bain News Service. Carpenter’s 1921 photo, taken inHawaii, shows Kahanamoku on the far right with five fellow Hawaiian members of his “Troupe,” all in island attire.

What the photo doesn’t show is the surfboard with which Duke Kahanamoku popularized the sport of surfing. The board Kahanamoku used was vastly different than the surfboards used today. The classic Hawaiian surfboard was heavier, wider, and a lot longer than contemporary boards, hence it is known familiarly as a “longboard.” In 1965, Duke Kahanamoku was inducted into both the Swimming Hall of Fame and the Surfing Hall of Fame.

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About The Library of Congress’ Digital Collections & Services

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Library of Congress Interior

Digital Collections & Services: Access to print, pictorial and audio-visual collections and other digital services.

The Library of Congress has made digitized versions of collection materials available online since 1994, concentrating on its most rare collections and those unavailable anywhere else.

The following services are your gateway to a growing treasury of digitized photographs, manuscripts, maps, sound recordings, motion pictures, and books, as well as “born digital” materials such as Web sites. In addition, the Library maintains and promotes the use of digital library standards and provides online research and reference services.

The Library provides one of the largest bodies of noncommercial high-quality content on the Internet. By providing these materials online, those who may never come toWashington can gain access to the treasures of the nation’s library. Such online access also helps preserve rare materials that may be too fragile to handle.
Building Digital Collections: Myriad factors are involved in putting a digital collection together, including copyright issues, metadata and retrieval standards, preservation, scanning and conversion, and text mark-up. Learn more about the Library’s current solutions

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Industry News : Fujifilm Photo Event Helps Restore Consumers Photos after Moore, Oklahoma, Tornado

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Company Offers Free Family Portraits and Photo Restoration to the Community

Source: DI Reporter August 5, 2013
Valhalla, NY—To help restore not only photos but also precious memories and some smiles, Fujifilm North America Corporation teamed up with Walmart in Moore, Oklahoma, for a five-day Fujifilm Photo Event.

From July 17 through July 21, Fujifilm offered two important services to help the people of Moore rebuild and recover the pictures that many had lost in the tragic tornado that hit the area in late May. Community members had the opportunity to have Fujifilm restore damaged photographs and to have new family portraits taken, free of charge.

At the Fujifilm portrait photography studio tent, the combined Fujifilm–Walmart teams created over 135 family portraits for Moore community families who had lost their photographs—and some even their entire family possessions—to the tornado in May. Using laptop computers and scanners, the team scanned in nearly 100 damaged family prints and saved them to CDs. They sent them to a Fujifilm partner for complete restoration to a digital file, to be given to the families so they can make additional prints at their convenience. In addition, Fujifilm printed more than 2,000 prints for the families of the Moorecommunity.

“Fujifilm wanted to help the community of Moore, Oklahoma, in a way that only we could accomplish—by restoring damaged images and taking new family portraits to replace the ones that were lost in the tornado,” said Manny Almeida , senior vice president & general manager, Fujifilm North America Corporation, Imaging and Electronic Imaging. “We hope that our efforts will help the families renew their spirit and strength that make the Moore community special.” fujifilmusa.com
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Charles Dana Gibson: Exhibiting an Illustrator Who also Shines as a Cartoonist

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The Jury Disagrees. Pen and ink drawing by Charles Dana Gibson, 1904. Published in: Life 43 (May 12, 1904)

 

By Barbara Orbach Natanson

 

The renowned illustrator Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) is best known for creating the Gibson Girl, that dazzling paragon of feminine beauty—with a flawless face, steadfast gaze, small-waisted yet voluptuous form, that tall beguiling being who radiated grace no matter what. Could the artist who invented this enchanting and widely emulated ideal of American womanhood also be considered a cartoonist?

While selecting works for a new exhibition about Gibson (on view at the Library from March 30 through August 17, 2013), I began to realize just how often his elegant drawings incorporate sharp political commentary with humorous social observations.

A look at The Jury Disagrees (1904) demonstrates Gibson’s remarkable narrative gifts and masterful pen-and-ink technique. How he achieves impeccable depictions of clothing and facial expressions as well as mockery of social pretension with such concise, perfectly placed lines of ink is a wonder to behold.

On reflection, I now wholeheartedly agree that many of the great cartoonists employ the same skills as great illustrators in creating visual imagery that conveys pointed messages in a humorous light. The Jury Disagrees is both an impressive social cartoon and a compelling illustration that tells a story about a young woman.
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Summer Road Trip: From Sea to Shining Sea

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Jewett Rock and Yolo Bolo. Photo copyrighted 1908. By Kristi Finefield

The summer road trip is a rite of passage for many Americans. And the ultimate road trip is the coast-to-coast journey. Today’s driver has many tools to make the trip easier: GPS systems, road maps, and miles of interstate highway. Between 24 hour gas stations, fast food and cell phones, we are never far from fuel, food and help, if needed. Pack the trunk, crank up the A/C and the tunes, and you’re off!

Now, imagine taking away all those amenities. Instead, set out across the country with incomplete guidebooks and partial road maps. And forget highways – only a fraction of the roads you encounter will even be paved. Pack your own gas cans, and breathe in fresh air (and road dust) the whole time. The car – and road – above are similar to ones you would be driving for over 3,000 miles.

Would you still do it?

What if you were a 22-year-old wife and mother in an era where women drivers were still a rarity?

The early decades of the 20thcentury were heady times for the developing auto industry. The early car trend inspired artists of the day to create advertisements, illustrations, posters and cartoons. Auto races – testing speed on the track or endurance across hundreds of miles – were all the rage, and photographers tried to capture the fast-paced action. The idea of transcontinental travel grabbed the American imagination, and attempts to complete the task became fodder for the cartoonists of the day, as seen in the humor magazine, Puck. The cartoon

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Jewett Rock and Yolo Bolo. Photo copyrighted 1908. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c03285

Gettysburg: Artists, Photographers & Printmakers Tell the Tale

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Alf Waud, shown here, was one of the best special artists who sketched action scenes for illustrated newspapers. Photograph by Timothy H. O’Sullivan, July 1, 1863.

July 1, 2013 by Jeff Bridgers

The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought on July 1-3, 1863, at a small town inPennsylvania. The fierce fighting was a major turning point in the American Civil War, with an estimated 50,000 casualties—dead, wounded, and missingUnionand Confederate soldiers.

Artists, photographers, and printmakers all documented the battle, using their unique talents to help people then and now understand the conflict. Looking at all three types of visual documentation together raises appreciation for how images tell a story.

A set of pictures selected for the Flickr Commons represents:

The vivid immediacy of drawings by Alfred R. Waud, the newspaper artist who was on the scene for the whole battle.

A sense of realism in the shots by such photographers as Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, and the Tyson Brothers, even though they arrived after the battle ended.

The symbolic roles played by the iconic photographs of a dead sharpshooter and the commemorative prints.

Photography of the battle site has remained popular for 150 years. News photographers covered the 50th anniversary reunion where both Union and Confederate veterans camped at Gettysburg in 1913. And, contemporary photographer Carol M. Highsmith has captured many famous vistas.
Clearly, Gettysburg is a landscape with ongoing meaning. (We’re hoping readers will share their photos of the battlefield with us on Flickr.)

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Caught Our Eyes: A Fish Tale?

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Edward Llewellen with the World’s Record Black Sea Bass, which he caught, (425 lbs.), at Catalina Island, Calif., Aug. 26, 1903. Photo by Ironmonger, copyrighted 1903 Sept. 5. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b03723

By Barbara Orbach Natanson

Cataloger Greg Marcangelo turned up this image–a record catch from an August fishing expedition nearly 110 years ago.
Edward Llewellen with the World’s Record Black Sea Bass.

A quick internet search confirms that Giant Sea Bass may reach these proportions!

If you are also an admirer of fish, feast your eyes on the variety of fish pictures the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog has to offer.

Greg had reason to be skeptical of the size of that fish, as the collections include images that go overboard in emphasizing the giant size of products and objects–as in these postcards showing California produce in transit.

photography exhibition recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art, along with the accompanying book, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop by Mia Fineman (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, c2012), offer examples of the type of photo manipulation Greg thought might have been involved.

The exhibition included an example from our collections showing, in part, General Grant–it took quite a bit of digging by one of our staff members to figure out which part!
At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lived than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.
MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.
Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.
MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Recommendations for Designing a Successful Archiving Strategy

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Source: IBM information Manual

An archiving strategy is a plan that ensures that you are archiving the correct data in the correct way. Archiving without an archiving strategy might result in poor overall system performance.

The success of your archiving strategy depends on a number of factors. The recommendations in this topic can help you address these factors.

To design a successful strategy:

1. Assign an applications team to maintain control over the archiving for your installation.

2. Understand the schemas, the data, and how they are accessed.

3. Understand your archive retrieval requirements.

4. Assess the retention requirements for archived data; that is, determine how long you need to keep archived data. This factor strongly influences the design of your strategy. For example, if you require some archived data to be accessed periodically, and other archived data to be accessed very infrequently, you might determine that a multitiered strategy is required in which very old archives can be deleted after a certain period of time.

5. Identify truly active data (versus inactive data) early in the design process. If archived data later requires updating, it really becomes active data again. The assumption is that archived data will not be updated because once it is modified; it no longer represents an accurate snapshot of that data.

6. Establish a consistent scheduling process for your archiving. The best strategies archive data on a regular basis to maintain storage goals and to help in retrieval consistency. You can still run single archive operations on an as-needed basis.

7. Consider all users and their requirements for authorization to access the archived data.

Understand that most archives involve multiple tables, and in many cases can include thousands of tables. DB2 Data Archive Expert can be very helpful in these situations.

Because many approaches to archiving exist, choose the one that best suits your needs.
At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lived than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.
MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.
Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.
MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

A Summer Holiday in the Isle of Wright

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Cottage on the Isle of Wright - Photographer unknown

July 18, 2013 by Jeff Bridgers

Every summer we can rent a cottage,
in the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear
–”When I’m Sixty-Four,” John Lennon & Paul McCartney

Since we’re in the midst of our first genuine heat wave this summer, my mind turns to imagining cooler climes.  And, naturally, these daydreams often involve cooling waters. Real travel is not in the cards for me at the moment, so instead I travel virtually via the Library’s collection of gorgeous photochrom prints.

-Pictured above is a little cottage in England’sI sle of Wight which has everything my fantasy requires: a place where I can listen to the gurgle of the stream, which spills into a waterfall, running right outside my door.

Photochroms, dating from the late 19th century, are richly-colored images that look for all the world like photographs but are actually ink-based photolithographs.

Like postcards, the photochroms feature subjects that appeal to travelers (and armchair travelers!), and were sold as souvenirs and often collected in albums or framed for display.

Were I to tire of the idyllic scene on my cottage’s porch, I might, in my musings, amble down to the Needles (pictured below) along the coastline. These dramatic rock formations are a fitting contrast to the serene scene of my streamside dwelling.

I tend to favor these scenes free of other people which add a sense of timelessness to the images and to my reverie. But, if your imagination is more social in nature, you can find plenty of people gathering along the seashore. Whatever your preferences, why not indulge yourself in a brief journey in these colorful photochroms?

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lived than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.
MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.
Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.
MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Washington, D.C.: The Early Years

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United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., east front elevation

June 27, 2013 by Kristi Finefield

The United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., east front elevation. Daguerreotype photo by John Plumbe, ca. 1846.

Ask any American to identify the Washington Monument or the U.S. Capitol, and it is likely they could.  But would they recognize – or be surprised by – those structures as they looked in the first century of the nation’s capital?

A newly expanded reference aid provides glimpses of the city as it evolved: Washington, D.C., Sights and Structures Before 1880:  Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of Congress. For example: Here stands the Washington Monument as it looked for nearly 25 years.  Construction began in 1848, but when funds ran out, the obelisk was less than one third its planned height. When construction resumed, stone had to be drawn from a new quarry. The color change is visible to this day.

If shown the 1846 daguerreotype below, would you recognize it as the U.S. Capitol? The building was restored to this state following its near destruction by fire when the British invaded the city during the War of 1812. When new wings more than doubled the length of the building, this dome appeared too small, and so was replaced by the one we know today. And the new dome was made of cast-iron – a much more fire-resistant choice than the wood dome it replaced.

The dome, with the Statue of Freedom capping it, was completed near the end of the American Civil War.

The Prints and Photographs Division has a rich array of images of earlyWashington,D.C.  By exploring the reference aid featuring a selection of those images, you can:

Watch the city grow and change through its first century in the General Views section.

The White House was also burnt by the British. See how it looked after the conflagration, both in the immediate aftermath and once rebuilt.

See how the city looked during the American Civil War.

At MAM-A Inc. we offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lived than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.
MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.
Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.
MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Montana Girl Rides Once Again

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Source: Library of Congress
July 25, 2013 by Jeff Bridgers

Where in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room can you find file cabinets full of photographs of everything from “Animals in Human Situations” to “Zoological Gardens,” from “Airplanes” to “Yachts and Yachting,” and from “Avalanches” to “Winter Scenes”?

Montana Girl. Photo copyrighted by Adams, 1909. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b19833

I couldn’t resist adding two examples of my own (above). “Montana Girl,” was found filed under “Cowgirls,” but she looks to me more like a confident turn-of-the-century rancher.

The Specific Subjects File (SSF). These 20,000 photographs of objects, events, activities, and structures, arranged by topical headings, now enjoy expanded online access thanks to the work of Prints & Photographs cataloger Antoinette O’Bryant.

Summing up her experience working with the SSF as “an interesting trip through history from A-Z,” Antoinette matched up photos with digital files and with skeletal catalog records. Then, she put some flesh on the bones of these records providing “access points for subject headings, name authorities, dates, summaries, and copyright information.”

Asked to select a couple of her favorite discoveries in the SSF, Antoinette chose the two images above. On the left, the sailing ship “Star of Alaksa” “combines my love of ships and cruising and my favorite place to visit (Alaska).” On the right, the historical significance of the “Negro lawyers and other historic characters of Mississippi” resonated with Antoinette.

Immerse yourself in a fuller description of the SSF as found in the Specific Subject Filing Series Guide Record.

Explore the range of images in the SSF, which is a part of the Prints & Photographs Catalog collection Miscellaneous Items in High Demand. This rather generic-sounding category consists of more than 80,000 descriptions of individual images from a variety of the Division’s holdings. The images have been singled out for description because copies were requested for a publication, exhibition, or other special project that increased demand for the pictures. A search on “SSF” retrieves over 6,000 photos which can be visually skimmed by employing the grid view display option.

Peruse the rich resources gathered in the Cataloging & Digitizing Toolbox, featuring cataloging, project planning, digitization, and insights into what we’ve learned in Prints & Photographs from our experience providing access to pictorial material.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.
MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.
Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.
MAM-A
Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

 

 

Archiving – Photographs Worth Keeping

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Print File Archival Preservers have become the industry standard for permanently preserving irreplaceable negatives, prints, slides, and transparencies. In response to a growing number of inquiries, Print File, Inc., provides the following archival storage profile and the prescribed industry guidelines for preserving valuable photographic material.

Until recent years, archival film storage had been associated, at least in the public mind, with museums, government agencies, libraries, or other institutions concerned with the preservation of photographic records; however, other users of photographic film, such as commercial photographers, printing houses, publishers, and schools, have long been concerned with how best to ensure permanence of their irreplaceable photography.

A sophisticated generation of amateur photographers who observed how time, humidity and casual storage damaged valuable slides and prints, nowadays, have converted to using archival storage techniques. They, too, appreciate that a picture good enough to keep is good enough to keep forever.

For photographers interested in permanent film storage, let’s examine what constitutes “archival storage,” safe parameters of storage techniques, and how Print File archival preservers ensure your finest photography maintains every detail and color while protected and preserved.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

The “How” of eMail Archiving

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July 18, 2013 by Butch Lazorchak

In early July I wrote about the “what of email archiving. That is, “what” are we trying to preserve when we say we’re “preserving email.” It was admittedly a cursory look at the issue, but hopefully it’s a start for more thorough discussions down the road.

This time I’ll dig in a little deeper and highlight some of the “how” of email archiving: projects and approaches that are attempting to practically address email archiving issues.

What solution you choose depends, in the first instance, on whether you’re an individual or an institution. NDIIPP offers some high-level guidance for email archiving tailored to individuals (and smaller organizations) as part of our personal archiving tips, but this represents only one possible approach to an email archiving methodology. There are solutions available to individuals (including free ones), though some require more active management and resource allocation (that is, $$$) than others.

The Mobisocial lab at Stanford University has an interesting tool that runs on an individual’s computer called Muse. While not a preservation solution, exactly, Muse enables users to access and browse their personal email archives in a variety of creative ways.

Tools like Muse make it easier for end-users to access large collections of email without the collections being subject to significant upfront organizing, sorting or appraisal. Muse (and tools like it) enable a “bypass” approach that may be heretical to advocates of traditional appraisal, but its simplicity, ease-of-use and effectiveness make it valuable to individuals and small organizations that have pulled their email out of an email system but want to continue to access to the files.

A discussion between differing archival approaches (let’s call them “heavy appraisal” vs. “save everything” just to be reductive) may be too incendiary to get into at this point, but an illuminating take on the subject can be found in a 1011 blog post in the New York Digital Archivists Working Group.

Recall the four main technical preservation strategies for email from the last post:
1. Migrate email to a new version of the software or an open standard
2. Wrap email in XML formats
3. Emulate the email environment
4. Retain the messages within the existing e-mail system

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment. MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Long-Term Personal Data Storage

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By Robin Harris

We’re living in a digital age. Maintaining digital data is more complex than sticking paper in a file folder. But the rewards – easy search, massive capacity, multi-formats – are worth it.

You can stick a newspaper clipping in a folder and read it in 50 years. Not so with digital content: both the media AND the format can become unreadable. With so much of the world’s data – and yours – in digital form, more people wonder: how do I keep my pictures, music, videos, documents and more around for decades? Here’s how.

You need to have the proper mindset. Your data is valuable. Storage is cheap. Scrimping on capacity to save a few bucks is silly. If money is a real problem, plan to copy your most important data first. In a few months, when storage is cheaper, buy some more.

Remember, you will soon forget about the cost of the storage, but you may never forgive yourself for losing irreplaceable family or legal files.

One word, my friend: copies – Neatness is one of the most common causes of data loss. You get the new external drive – or worse, RAID array – copy everything to it and then delete the originals. The drive or array goes south – and your data goes with it.

A RAID array is NOT a substitute for a data archive. RAID arrays break and all too often a single mistake – oops, pulled the wrong disk! – and your data is gone forever.

The best policy is several copies across different media, preferably in different locations. Storage is cheap. Use lots.

Audio
The MP3 format is the best bet for the long haul. MP3 is widely supported and playable on most every media player.
The iTunes native AAC format can be converted to MP3 by right-clicking and selecting “create MP3″ in the contextual menu (I don’t own iTunes music, so that may not work with DRM’d AAC files).
When ripping, save to the highest MP3 quality – 320 kbps – that few ears can tell from uncompressed. Takes a little more space today, but in year you won’t notice the difference. Storage is cheap.

Pictures
There aren’t any perfect solutions for pictures. Portable Network Graphics (PNG – pronounced “ping”) is lossless and probably the best bet, but it doesn’t have the widest software support. If the pictures are really important, print on acid-free paper with pigment inks and store in a cool, dry and dark place.

Avoid using proprietary formats from apps such as Photoshop, Illustrator or Autodesk. Those files are specialized and application dependent: no app, no picture.

Video

Video is tough: none of the digital formats have been around that long; the file sizes are large; and creating copies non-trivial. I produce videos, but for this I spoke to an expert.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment. MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

What is Personal Archiving?

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Personal archiving is a branch of archival science and genealogy, focusing on the capture and preservation of individual’s personal papers and other documentary output, generally by the individuals concerned. It is often related to family history, when family historians are engaged in capturing their own living history to leave as a legacy for future generations. This branch of family history is allied to the growth in activities such as photograph and record scanning which seek to preserve materials beyond their original life.

Modern personal archiving is often concerned with digital preservation, especially with collating individual’s content from social media websites and ensuring the long-term preservation of this. This often deals with migration of digital content, as a means of preservation, rather than the tradition tasks of conservation of paper-based records.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment. MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

How Long Will Digital Storage Media Last?

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Our home movies, photo albums, letters, and paper documents are a vital link to the past. Personal information we create today has the same value. The only difference is that much of it is now digital.

Digital storage media have a limited life. This is why digital preservation requires active management, including regular migration of content from older storage devices to newer devices. The life of storage media are cut short by at least three factors:

1. Media durability
2. Media usage, storage and handling

How Long Will Digital Storage Media Last?

1. Media durability
Computer storage media devices vary in how long they last. The quality and construction of individual media items differ widely. The following estimates for media life are approximate; a specific item can easily last longer–or fail much sooner.

2. Media usage, storage and handling
People have a direct impact on the longevity of storage media:
The more often media are handled and used, the greater the chance they will fail; careful handling can extend media life, rough handling has the opposite effect. Stable and moderate temperature and humidity, along with protection from harmful elements (such as sun and salt) helps keep media alive.

Good-quality readers and other hardware media connections are beneficial; poor connections can kill media quickly.

Media that are not labeled or safely stored can be lost or accidentally thrown away.

Fires, floods and other disasters are very bad for media!

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.
MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Citizen Archiving

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In the evolving nature of personal digital archiving is described succinctly in this passage:

In the past, while there has always been tension between private and public (institutional) collectors, it has been the institutional collectors –archives, libraries, museums, and historic sites – that have won out. In the future, there may be less certainty about this, especially as so many personal papers are digitally born and pose challenges to the public archives. The good news is, however, many private citizens care as passionately about the documents as do the institutional repositories.

Whether we recognize it or not, we’re surrounded by citizen archivists. The challenge for us in the information professions is to find creative ways to support and channel the wonderful energy going on in the wider world to ensure that diverse materials of incredible value survive over time.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment. MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Picturing the Democratization of Digital Stewardship

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By Bill LeFurgy

When we first started promoting personal archiving on our website a couple of years ago, the topics was fairly new. The efforts of major institutions to preserve and make available digital content were well-known, of course, but the idea of doing something similar for personal material was embryonic. Since then, attention to what can be called the democratization of digital stewardship has grown steadily. Many smaller organizations, as well as many individuals, are more attuned to the value of digital content to communities and to families.

I could provide a list here of projects underway–which is a good idea, and I’ll do it at some point–but a simpler way to make the case is to point out some recent public pictures tagged with personal digital archiving. Even in cases where the author offers up an attitude of ”look at all this junk,” these pictures are informative and poignant.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

Three Things to Change the World for Personal Digital Archiving

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July 8, 2013 by Bill LeFurgy

I am relentlessly optimistic about the future of personal digital archiving. There is simply too much at stake, in my mind, to feel anything but hopeful.

Let’s face it, though: it’s hard. A well-regarded expert who has spent years studying personal digital habits tells me that people just won’t invest time and effort to preserve their personal files. Individuals are said to be hopelessly passive in this space: they are content to let content spread helter-skelter among the shifting assortment of devices and services they use to create and share digital material.

Sadly, this is the way it is for many people. Photos pile up on smartphones. Social media platforms come and go. Email and text messages reside in siloed accounts. Passive dependency on technology that doesn’t care about the future is begging for a world-wide personal digital disaster.

Unlike my learned colleague, however, I don’t see this situation as inevitable. It can be improved–in fact, it has to be improved. It may take time and the disappearance of digital memories for countless families, but eventually the loss will be so keenly felt that people will demand a solution.

So all we need to do is change the world. Here are three things I think need to happen to make digital archiving easier for people and communities.

1. Greater awareness. I’ve talked with hundreds of people at outreach events and the large majority hasn’t heard much about managing personal digital files. Most people also need instruction about how to take the most basic steps, such as making duplicate copies on separate media. And many who have thought about personal digital archiving associate it strictly with digitizing analog items, not with preserving the resulting digital copies. The good news is that people quickly understand the issue when it is clearly explained.

2. Radically better tools and services. Irony abounds here: in the midst of an amazing revolution in computer technology, there is a near total lack of systems designed with digital preservation in mind. Instead, we have technology seemingly designed to work against digital preservation. The biggest single issue is that we are encouraged to scatter content so broadly among so many different and changing services that it practically guarantees loss. We need programs to automatically capture, organize and keep our content securely under our control.

3. Attention to scale. There are two scales of concern. One is the huge (and rapidly growing) number of people around the world who create huge (and rapidly growing) volumes of digital content. A generation ago, a family would be lucky to have a few hundred photographs, letters and other memory materials. Today, millions of people have billions of personal digital files, and preservation solutions need to be democratic and multi-national. The other scale is technological. As a recent article points out, current limits on internet bandwidth, storage practices and storage costs hinder personal digital archiving–and the problem is set to get worse with a new series of “lifelogging” devices coming onto the market. Information technology needs to make a giant leap to bridge the gap.

MAM-A Inc. is the CD-R and DVD-R specialist in manufacturing. We produce the best high quality archive grade recordable media.

Our CD-R Media is manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room environment.

MAM-A Gold discs use Mitsui Chemical’s patented dye and has a characteristic gold color. This combination of dye and pure gold provide superior longevity, high-speed writing and quality recording up to 52X.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media.

MAM-A
Backup forever on 24K gold discs
http://www.mam-a.com/Specials

For more information, please visit:
http://www.mam-a-store.com/

 

Digital Overload

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By Chris Schulteis 

Digital Overload

I think I am suffering from digital overload. I mean really, how much technology is too much? I manage a virtual charter school which means I spend my entire work day in front of a computer. I typically have so many programs and windows and tabs open that I need two large monitors to see it all. When I’m not on my my computer, I’m on my smart phone tapping out a text message or recording a voice memo. And now my head is spinning with all of the Web 2.0 tools I have investigated in the past few weeks. Let’s make a quick list, shall we?

Blogger, edmodo, ThinkQuest, EduBlogs, Xanga, WikiSpaces, WetPaint, PB Works, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, Google reader, Bloglines, Google Sites, Screenr, ScreenJelly, EyeJot, Jing, Ning, Diigo, Delicious, micromobs and Facebook. And that is just the very tippy top of the iceberg when it comes to what is all available out there. How does one make sense of it all?

I know, I’ll create an RSS feed to organize it all in one convenient location. Except that now I have 729 articles in my aggregator waiting for me to read them.
Wait, I have a better idea. I’ll start following some Web 2.0 experts on Twitter so that I can keep up to date on the latest and greatest tools. I mean that’s got to be easier right? How long can it take to read a 140-character tweet? Hold on now, each one of these tweets contains a link to another blog or website to read. And half these things look like they are written in a foreign language. What’s with all the @’s and #’s? I’m following 40 people and they are all posting 10 times a day so that’s, ummm, 400 tweets! No time for that.
OK, I’ve got it. I will just friend everyone and like every website and organization I’m interested in on Facebook so I can keep up with what’s happening that way. Only now my newsfeed is so clogged up I can’t find out what my second cousin needs for Farmville…

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Help! The Digital Universe is Growing Too Fast

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Posted by: Sam Moore
Sonian.com

The February 25 edition of The Economist included an insightful article,” Data Data, Everywhere,” about the digital information overload. It discusses the fact that the digital universe is growing faster than the capability to store this information. In the graph below you can see a representation of this phenomenon measured in Exabytes. (5 Exabytes = all of the words ever spoken by mankind.)

The business of information management-helping organizations to make sense of their proliferating data is growing by leaps and bounds. In recent years Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and SAP between them have spent more than $15 billion on buying software firms specializing in data management and analytics. This industry is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion and growing at almost 10% a year, roughly twice as fast as the software business as a whole.

Interesting factoids:
Wal-Mart, a retail giant, handles more than 1m customer transactions every hour, feeding databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes-the equivalent of 167 times the books in America’s Library of Congress

Facebook, a social-networking website, is home to 40 billion photos.
Decoding the human genome involves analyzing 3 billion base pairs-which took ten years the first time it was done, in 2003, but can now be achieved in one week.

The amount of digital information increases tenfold every five years.Moore’s law, which the computer industry now takes for granted, says that the processing power and storage capacity of computer chips double or their prices halve roughly every 18 months.

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Preserving Your Family Memories

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Article: Library of Congress

Perhaps more than any other kind of personal digital information, photos have rich personal meaning. And photos are unique: if they are lost, the information they provide can never be replaced.You will want to keep at least some of your digital photos for a long time. Focus attention on organizing your important photos by placing them into related groups.

Archiving Tips
Identify where you have digital photos
1. Identify all your digital photos on cameras, computers and removable media such as memory cards.
2. Include your photos on the Web.
Decide which photos are most important.
3. Pick the images you feel are especially important.
4. You can pick a few photos or many.
5. If there are multiple versions of an important photo, save the one with highest quality.

Organize the selected photos
1. Give individual photos descriptive file names.
2. Tag photos with names of people and descriptive subjects .
3. Create a directory/folder structure on your computer to put the images you picked.
4. Write a brief description of the directory structure and the photos. Make copies and store them in different places
5. Make at least two copies of your selected photos—more copies are better.
6. One copy can stay on your computer or laptop; put other copies on separate
media such as DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives or Internet storage.
7. Store copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If disaster strikes one location, your photographs in the other place should be safe. Put a copy of the photo inventory with your important papers in a secure location.
8. Check your photos at least once a year to make sure you can read them.
9. Create new media copies every five years or when necessary to avoid data loss.

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Why is it Important to Have Awareness of File Format Applications?

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By:Leslie Johnston

I was talking to one of my archivist colleagues about a collection he was processing and the challenges he was having identifying file types based on their extensions. The collection does go back several decades, but some of the file extensions were unrecognizable.

This was when I confessed: during a period of time in my life, I ignored files extensions, sometimes changing them to meet my own whims.

A directory of some of my old files
There were a few reasons for this. The very first computer that I owned was an original 1984 Macintosh. Since file extensions were not visible in the file browser, and my applications magically opened associated files, I didn’t really even know they existed.  In my first work environment where we had DOS IBM PCs  (prior to that I used terminals and mainframes), all my files were on a handful of single-sided 5.25″ floppy disks. I would insert the floppy into the drive and open the file from within the application, since that was the easiest method. I had no awareness of the registry or the existence of file format-application mapping at that time.

I had the misguided notion that it would be easiest to manage my files if I knew what type of content it was, not what type of file it was: .LET for letter, .MAN or GDE for documentation, .ENV for envelope and so on. In some cases, the weird file extensions were created when I moved a Mac file with a long file name over to a DOS PC with its 8.3 character file naming restrictions. That’s how I ended up with files with names like “PHOTOLA.BEL” and “LJMCNEMA.ILI”.

But for the life of me, I cannot fathom what I meant by some of these file extensions 30 years later.  What could I have meant by “.OB”?  I can guess what my work process was when I created “.WK1″ and “.CHG” files.  I created them, and I don’t know what I meant. How would an archivist fare?

This definitely came back to haunt me when I needed to access and/or migrate both my Mac and PC files later. I kept my original files with their original names, migrated off their original media, including the original 1984 Mac floppy disk that came with my Mac. And yes, I do still also have the original media. I ran all the files through a commercial file conversion tool, making copies and converting to more recent versions with much (but not complete) success.  In some cases the files without any extension fared the best, because operating systems and conversion tool weren’t mislead by the extension, getting their information from the file itself.

The files with the crazy extensions (a mix of mostly Word Perfect, MS Word, Aldus Pagemaker and Adobe Illustrator files) were a mixed bag.  In some cases when it failed, I made educated guesses and changed the file extensions on the copied files and was at least able to read the content, even if it was not formatted 100% correctly. The biggest failure at the time? Mac Write 1.0 files, but that was a tool issue, not a file extension issue.

I did this circa 2003 before our community practices and tools had evolved to where they are now.  I want to run this experiment again to see how successful it is. And I want to caution all content creators to carefully watch your use of file extensions, because you never know what the legacy of your files might be.

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I Made Metadata Fun: A True Story

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June 26, 2013 by Susan Manus

The following is a guest post by Madeline Sheldon, Junior Fellow with NDIIPP.

Most of you who follow this blog have an interest in digital preservation and will already be familiar with the following information. This particular post is more for the individuals who are just beginning to understand the implications of their digital footprint and what it means to store/preserve and retrieve their data.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine asked about the progress of my research, curious to learn more about the nature of my work. I did my best to relay some of my recent about digital preservation stewardship, but when her eyes started to glaze over, I knew I had to employ a different approach. I tried to think of topics that would translate easily into popular culture without losing my friend’s attention, or confusing her with technical jargon. I had the most luck with metadata, mostly because this person had heard mention of its existence in the news and wanted to hear more about how this “new” term existed within her own life.

In order to make metadata relatable, I explained that she inadvertently created metadata every single day by logging onto her favorite social media site, sending an email, text or even taking photos with her digital camera. I used a metadata guide that I found online, followed by real-time demonstrations to further illustrate my point. Together we looked at source code from her newest social media update, pointing towards the time stamp and text of her most recent post:

In the same way, I explained, emails and text messages create metadata which highlights sender/receiver information, such as location, and the day/time a person sends/receives a new message. When taking photographs with a digital camera, the resulting image often has data encoded into the file, such as size, resolution and camera make/model.

This revelation piqued her interest, though she still didn’t fully comprehend why I needed to relate metadata to my research with digital preservation planning. I did my best to keep my explanation as simple as possible, using digital photographs as a relatable example. Digital material, I explained, is not a stable medium, eventually degrading or becoming obsolete.

Cultural institutions dedicated to digital stewardship work to prevent this by creating policies or strategies within their organization to plan for long-term preservation of this material. The use of metadata is a major component in this process because it holds valuable, descriptive information, which allows the digital object to be accessed or discoverable in the future.

After our conversation, I felt a sense of accomplishment because I made metadata fun and relatable to a person completely outside of my profession, which rarely happens. Despite this, I think the conversation went so well because metadata appears to be a hot topic at the moment, though that may (or may not) change in the future.

Whatever the case may be, I can revel in the satisfaction that I successfully brought a new convert to the (meta) side.

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The Importance of Preserving eMails

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By: Susan Manus

When was the last time you wrote a letter, on paper?  Other than my note-to-self stickies (my desk usually has a bunch), or greeting cards, I personally have not written much of substance, just on paper, in a long time.

These days, of course, we are engulfed in the digital versions of note writing, with many different options available. And over the past generation or so, much of our individual correspondence has taken place via e-mail.  It’s now ubiquitous and so easy to do it makes you wonder how we ever functioned without it.  We write it, maybe file it in a folder in our email program of choice, and then we forget it.  It’ll be there when we need it again, right?

The thing is, in the future it may not be there unless you take steps to preserve it.  Email is a type of “born digital” material – that is, something that was originally created in digital form.   And more and more of what we produce – both at work and our personal lives – is now born digital.  And the digital is fragile.  So we should save email for the same reasons we save any important record – to have access to it in the future.

Email could get lost for a number of reasons – due to the archival limitations of an email program, file corruption, or when a current email program is replaced with another program altogether.

Using an example from my own experience at work, we are now on our third email program since I started here at the Library. Unfortunately, it can be difficult if not impossible to retrieve email from an older program, once the switch to the newer one is made.   What if you wanted to see an email discussion of a project from 5 or 10 years ago?  (Yes, I’ve been here awhile!)  Those older emails may contain useful information relevant to a current project.  Those emails may also be gone, having disappeared into the digital ether.

And of course, you might want to preserve much of your personal email, either for sentimental reasons or to preserve valuable family or legal correspondence. Some of these emails are important and well worth saving.  In addition to your own use, you may also want to save emails for future generations.

Those of us working in digital preservation recommend active “management” of email, especially that which has long term value.  This blog posting is focused on the “why” but we do have information available to help with the “how”. On our personal digital archiving pages we offer some general guidelines for saving your personal materials.

For all digital formats we recommend similar steps to preserve the digital files – for email, the specific recommendations are listed here, but in a nutshell:.

1. Identify – your email source.

2. Select/decide – items with long term value.

3. Export – either individual emails, or as a group.

4. Organize – name your files.

5. Copy/manage – make duplicates, and store in at least two separate locations.

And what about my emails from that old long-ago program? Since I wanted to hang onto some of them after the transition, I made copies – that is, I saved them as text files and also printed them out. And it’s good to know they are still there.

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Snapjoy’s Closure Is Another Reminder To Take Responsibility Of Your Own Data

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Ewan Spence, Contributor Forbes

The closure of Snapjoy – a cloud based photo library that brought together your uploaded images into one portal – is a timely reminder once more that brightly colored Web 2.0 cloud services that promise the Earth if you just commit your data to them are not to be trusted.

Snapjoy’s blog post on the issue is quick and brutal. Users have a month to download their images in a zip file, and then the data will be permanently deleted.
This is all the more surprising given that Snapjoy is now owned by Dropbox. Purchased at the end of December 2012, Dropbox closed the service to new users, but said that the service would remain open. Six months later, the shutters have come down. Surely the responsible thing to do here would be to offer users a route to move their Snapjoy images into Dropbox, with permission?

Once again, the users of a service are left with no way to influence the direction of the services they use. For all the talk of persistent apps, data in the cloud, ease of use, and listening to users concerns, the next word that springs to mind when I think of web services is transitory.

By all means use these services, because they are useful, and in the short term can provide excellent value. But if you place any personal value in your own information, then my advice is head to the shops, pick up some external storage devices and implement your own back-up strategy that works for you in the short, medium, and long term. Use them alongside the web service du jour, but take responsibility for your own data.

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What People Are Asking About Personal Digital Archiving

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By Mike Ashenfelder

During Preservation Week 2013, I gave a webinar avout personal digital archiving. Over 600 people participated and, during the post-presentation question section, 91 people submitted questions online. I had time to answer about a dozen or so. After the webinar, the hosts from the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services sent me the complete list of questions and I’m gradually responding to all of them. Questions are always good because it helps us to improve and expand our information resources.

The questions covered a variety of topics — email preservation, file naming, digital video, file migration, scanning and digital asset management —  but the most striking fact is that two-thirds of all the questions could be grouped into just two main topics: digital photos and storage.

Interest in digital photos is not surprising. Most of the questions we get at NDIIPP personal-digital-archiving presentations are related to digital photos. The webinar questions about storage were also not surprising; with the variety of available digital storage options and the uncertainty about their reliability, storage can be a perplexing topic.

I’d like to share a few of the webinar questions in this post. There’s not enough space to cover both topics today so I will just do the digital photo ones. I will post the digital storage questions in a future column.

Photographer David Riecks, of photometdata.org, helped answer the more difficult questions. Since many of the questions were variations on the same theme, I mashed some of the more representative ones together.

Which is better for preservation, JPEG or TIFF? I have heard that TIFF is better because of degrading. Do JPEGs deteriorate?

TIFF is a lossless format, though newer versions of photo-processing applications such as Photoshop have options to save TIFF files with various forms of  lossless compression. A lossless file format is especially good if you plan to return to the file to make tone or color changes, or to retouch the photo. When you finish with the file and close it, there is no data compression and no image data is lost.

TIFF files require more storage space than JPEGs because of their relatively larger data-rich sizes, so some photographic organizations use a form of lossless file compression called LZW. It does take a bit of time to pack the file and each time you open the file it may take a bit of time to expand it. But no data is thrown away and the image does not degrade over time.

If you scan a photo, it is a good practice to save the scan as a TIFF, rather than as a JPEG or PDF, because of the TIFF’s losslessness. In addition, if you want the maximum quality, you can even capture and save up to 16 bits per channel in an RGB TIFF; JPEG only allows for 8 bits per channel.

If you want to share a digital photo that is in a TIFF file format, saving or exporting a copy of it as a JPEG is a fine option. A JPEG can be viewed a web browser and it takes less bandwidth to transmit or download. Always keep the original TIFF though.

If your original digital photo file is a JPEG and you don’t intend to modify it, you can archive it as it is. There is no benefit to converting it to a TIFF if you are not going to modify it. The “lossy” aspect of JPEG becomes an issue when you modify the JPEG and save it — and consequently compress it.

JPEG compression of image data results in some loss of image information, which is why it is referred to as lossy. Compression is not inherently bad; light compression reduces a file size and the lost image information is barely visible. But the more you compress a file, the more information you lose and the worse the photo looks. Once that digital information is lost, you can never get it back.

If you take a TIFF file and save it as a high quality JPEG with a low compression setting, the JPEG may occupy a fraction of the disk space that the TIFF would have occupied. However, if you were to open the JPEG again, make tone or color changes and then re-save it, you would subject it to another round of compression; after multiple rounds of modification and re-compression you would begin to see degradation in the image file.

The amount and quality of compression applied to a JPEG file is an important factor in its quality. In Photoshop, there are two means of creating a JPEG. One uses a quality scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the least compression or “maximum quality” and it results in the largest file size.  Quality equals size. The higher the quality, the larger the file size; the lower the quality, the greater the data loss and the smaller the file size.

The type of JPEG compression applied in a camera will be different from that used in Photoshop. Some of the newer cameras have several settings, ranging from a “Basic” JPEG to a “Superfine” JPEG. These settings probably have a rough equivalent setting to Photoshop but they are not exactly the same.

When modifying digital photos, never modify the original. Always make a copy and modify the copy. You can compress copies for upload or delete copies if you are not happy with the results. Be careful to save the copy with a different name than the original; otherwise it will overwrite and replace the original.
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The JPEG 2000 format has both a lossless and a lossy means of compression. Like TIFF, JPEG 2000 can store files with more than 8 bits per channel, though it requires less storage space than a TIFF. Note that while you can substantially reduce a JPEG 2000 file size, there are fewer applications that can create and open this file format compared to a TIFF. If you are considering converting your files to JPEG 2000, do some tests first.

Here’s a tip: if you open a JPEG image in a photo-processing application, modify it and save the retouched image as a TIFF (with or without LZW compression), then this TIFF image will not be any further degraded or compressed than the original. However, if you apply curves or levels to the image, then you will more than likely introduce some loss of data, since both these ways of modifying the tonal distribution of the image do so by squishing or stretching out the original data.

Does adding metadata affect the photo file? If you add descriptive information using particular software, will any other software enable you to view that information or is it all proprietary? Are there any open-source options for adding metadata?

You can modify the metadata about the image — such as caption, description and keywords — with a number of programs. Most of these will only modify the file header information, not the image pixels. [See “An Easy Way to Add Descriptions to Digital Photos,” part 1 and part 2.] Adding metadata to a photo file does not subject the image to compression, so the quality of the image will not change. Since the metadata text does take up a little bit space, the size of the image will increase slightly.

Information written to the file header of JPEG images can be read by many applications and, in newer computers, even the operating system itself. For instance in Windows Vista and Windows 7/8, the WIC (Windows Imaging Component) allows you to see this information simply by “right clicking” and viewing the image properties. With Macs, from OS 10.5 forward, the information is visible by using “Preview” and Command + I (view info).

If you add metadata to TIFF files, much is the same as with JPEGs, though not all programs will work. Other special and proprietary file formats like Photoshop files (PSD) and camera RAW files (NEF, CR2) are even more problematic in terms of image metadata and review by other programs.

Most software use the IPTC or XMP standards to store embedded photo metadata. Picasa uses the older IPTC standard. Photoshop uses XMP for storing metadata: this includes the IPTC Core, IPTC Extension, PLUS and more. Information entered with Picasa can be read by Photoshop. The reverse is not always true.

You can find a list of photometadata resources at controlledvocabulary.com.

Does frequently opening digital photos, JPEGs, degrade the quality or is that due to compression?

Moving a JPEG from one location to another will not degrade the image but if the file is corrupted in transit  (due to, say, a virus), it will likely not be openable.

It’s important to understand that while compression is used in saving the JPEG file, and the JPEG image has to be decompressed before you can view it, there is no change to the image just through the act of opening the file. Re-compressing the file changes it.

If you “Save” the opened JPEG file, rather than just close the open file  (exit without saving), you can cause the file to degrade over time with each “open/save” action. Typically the only time you would be asked to save the file is after modifying the image pixels, such as changing the tone or color, or retouching, cropping or removing red-eye.

You might consider making pixel changes to your JPEG and saving the digital photo as a (lossless) TIFF file.

You mentioned scanning at 300 dpi for the standard photograph sizes. Would you use a different dpi if you were scanning a color photograph versus a black and white photograph?

You could scan a b&w photo using the “grayscale” option rather than the RGB color option, but you’d want at least 300 dpi/ppi regardless.

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Tips on Archiving Family History, Part 3

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By The New York Times

How to Store Aging Documents

Q. I’ve been told that plastics are not the best thing to store old documents in, and they should be placed in archive quality, acid-free paper products and boxes. However, what advice can you give to family members who keep and cherish documents from the 1800s that are flood prone and who probably would not be willing to consider safety deposit boxes, because they want to keep them at home? Are there sealed, waterproof containers that are advisable in this situation? Pam

A. Pam, check out this list of suppliers of archival products that the Smithsonian maintains. It’s not the case that all plastics are bad. In fact, certain plastics are highly recommended for long-term storage. The key with plastics is to avoid PVC-based polymers and to avoid any type of plastic that off-gases to a dangerous degree. Three forms of plastic that are regularly used in preservation scenarios are polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester. Look for archival storage products that are composed of one of these three polymers. If photos are involved, make sure the product has passed the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). If so, most products will advertise this fact.
Q. How could you preserve an autograph book that has writings in it from friends of my great-grandmother? The dates are 1885 through 1887. Cukie, Lacombe, La.

A. Cukie, the first thing I would do is to purchase a high-quality storage container for it. You want something that lays horizontally and that encloses the book entirely. It also needs to be made of acid-free and lignin-free materials. Hollinger Metal Edge sells such containers. You can also purchase 100-percent-cotton fabric to wrap the book before it is stored in the box. Keep it out of the light entirely (the full-enclosure box will help that), and keep it in a cool, dry space. Heat, light and moisture all speed the decay of cellulosic materials (which is what the paper of the book is made of).

Digitizing Documents from World War II

Q. We have a massive collection of old family WWII letters, many of which are near crumbling. We would like to have them digitized and then made into a physical book and an e-book. What suggestions do you have to accomplish this myself or with services that do this type of archival work? Thanks. Koa

Q. My grandfather’s negatives from World War II are crumbling. I know from letters written between him and his brothers that Agfa chemicals and paper were used. How do I preserve them? They are 120-millimeter format. Should I try refixing them with fixer? Villette 1

Q. I have a box filled with items from my father’s WWII experience in the Persian Gulf — many letters, photos, crumbling newspaper clippings, pamphlets, patches. How do I preserve and put them together to form an interesting archive for my children and grandchildren? Peggy

A. Koa, take a look at the responses I provided to other questions about photo digitizationand preservation. I provided a lot of resources related to digital imaging (scanning) that will be useful for your case, too. Before you prepare for any scanning, though, it would be helpful for you to stabilize the letters physically. If they are not already, be sure to store them in acid- and lignin-free folders and boxes and to keep them in dark, cool, dry locations, preferably off the floor.

Villete 1, I’m sorry that I cannot be of more help. I have little experience with physical conservation of damaged negatives. This article by Paul Messier gives a good introduction to preservation considerations for negatives. It also has a useful bibliography that can lead you to further sources. Also, see my earlier answers to photo-preservation questions in which I included many other links to resources.

Peggy, it sounds as if you have a wonderful collection to pass on to your children. See my earlier answers to questions about photo and manuscripts preservation and storage. There are links to resources that provide guidance on methods to store and protect your collections. Remember to also document what the contents are. If there are people in photographs, document them. Your children will not have the information otherwise. Document dates and places as well. You can keep inventories on paper or in digital formats that your children can use in the future to know what everything is. And if the collection is ever donated to an archive, these inventories will be of great help to archivists and researchers.

Being an employee of the Library of Congress, I would be remiss not to mention the Veterans (VHP) as a potential home for collections that document the experiences of United States veterans. Its Web site gives information about the project and how to participate. It is an amazing and growing resource documenting the experience of veterans of all United States wars from World War I to contemporary conflicts.

Any Choices for Digital Video

Q. We hold a growing community archive of recorded and filmed oral histories. For archival purposes, we’ve been using digital video tape for filming, as well as CF cards for audio.

1. Is there any reason not to switch completely to nontape video recording? What format or quality setting is most universal (HD/Standard)?

2. I recently became aware of the limitations of the Mac’s Time Machine as an archive and now create actual file backups. Should we abandon Time Machine or double up on the external drive stack?

3. What is the most important part of any interview to save and in what format? Our archive of recordings and transcripts is stored on external drives and refreshed, but we also keep printed hard copies of all interviews. Chinquapin

A. Chinquapin, you ask great and difficult questions. For long-term preservation purposes, the trend is to move toward file-based digital formats instead of carrier-dependent formats. This trend assumes an underlying strategy for maintaining the integrity of digital files and for keeping the files alive and redundant. Unfortunately, for video, there are many choices when it comes to codecs (the way the bits are encoded/decoded to represent the visual data, e.g., ffv1, H.264, Apple ProRes) and wrappers (the way the elements of the video — video, audio, metadata, etc. — are packaged together into a single file, e.g., QuickTime, AVI, MXF). And then there are more choices for matters such as resolution, color space and frame rate. I serve on a working group for audiovisual guidelines as part of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI). Although it is not available yet, we are working on a comparison chart for digital video codecs and wrappers.

I am not too familiar with Time Machine’s limitations, but I am certain that you should make an effort to keep redundant (multiple) copies of your files on multiple drives, and if possible on multiple storage formats, as well as in different physical locations.

At the American Folklife Center, we keep the raw footage from interviews as well as the final produced version (if one exists). We also generate transcripts and store those transcripts in physical and digital formats.

Kara Van Malssen (Audiovisual Preservation Solutions) provides a useful overview of video in this article that was written for a project called Oral. The article includes a list of resources that add further depth to the conversation, including “A Primer on Codecs for Moving Image and Sound Archives” by Chris Lacinak and a link to the video preservation Web site.

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More Tips on Archiving Family History

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By The New York Times 

Readers questions about archiving and preserving family history and stories to Bertram Lyons, an archivist at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress in Washington. He was recently asked to be the editor of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, an organization that aims to share best practices in the management of audiovisual materials internationally. He received his master’s degree in museum studies from the University of Kansas in 2009.

Q. I have a large collection of 8mm/Super 8mm films I would like to have transferred to a digital format. Some of these films are in sound and some were made at 18 fps and 24 fps. I have been very disappointed with the transfers I have seen. Most of these companies simply project the image to a screen and record it to tape. Worst of all is that they have to alter the speed of the projection of the film to compensate or eliminate the problem of flicker (the difference between the fps of film and video) – the results are a poor, cropped image with a different projection speed from the original. Is there a company that can scan film digitally frame by frame much as commercial films are transferred for release to DVD? I am sure it would be much more expensive but the results would be far superior. Can you recommend a company that does this? — John M, Poway, Calif.

Q. We have 16mm family movies from the late 1920s through the 1950s. Some of them have been transferred to VHS and a handful has been digitized. We would like to safely store the originals, as well as our Super 8mm films from the late 1970s. What is the best way to do this? — Mbkatzhyman, Newport News, Va.

Q. I would like to have my 16 mm films from the 1940s (rather brittle) and 8 mm ones from the 1970s copied onto DVDs. Can you recommend a commercial outfit on the West Coast that would do it? — D. Droste, Reno, Nev.

Q. I need to preserve a European 35mm black and white movie (no sound natch!) film from the early 1920s. About 25 years ago I had it transferred to VHS, which is now in deplorable condition. The original movie looks to be in good condition, though. How to preserve without losing quality? — Doxie, New York

Q. My dad has a very old tape of my mom practicing that can’t be played anymore – 8 mm sound I believe. It’s literally irreplaceable. How can he go about finding someone reputable to put it on current media? — I’m For Tolerance, U.S.

A. Film is a wonderful medium because it does not hide its encoded information from the naked eye. With light and a magnifying glass, a human does not need a machine to interpret the images captured on the film. Many other recorded media, especially video, analog audio formats and any digital formats, require an intermediary machine for human consumption. My point here is that you should be thinking about both physical preservation and reformatting. Sure, you will want viewable copies of your films for now and the future, but you will also want to think about the best methods for preserving the physical film for the future as well.

As John M. notes, many services that claim to make quality copies of films simply perform a quick and dirty method of projecting the film to a screen while simultaneously recording the screen with a video camera or another film camera. While this, in some cases, does produce the required result (a playable copy) it does not produce a high-quality playable copy, much less a preservation copy. There are also complicating factors of moving from film to video, such as frame size and frame speed. Film and video are inherently different in these realms, so any conversion of film to video (analog or digital) will require some change in the appearance of the images on the film. Because of the complexity and expense of copying, reformatting or digitizing film, many people find that it is far more cost effective to use reputable vendors. The good news is that there are quite a few trustworthy vendors out there who are passionate about film preservation.

The Association of Moving Image Archivists hosts a list of active vendors. Two vendors not included on that list who do great work are Scene Savers and George Blood, L.P. I am sure there are many others.

Here are additional resources for film preservation worth exploring:

Conservation On-Line (resources for conservation professionals) provides a clearinghouse of information for motion picture film preservation.

A.M.I.A. also supports the Home Film Preservation Guide, which provides specialized information for preserving motion picture film outside of specialized archives.

The National Film Preservation Foundation and the National Film Preservation Board are two federally mandated bodies that support film preservation and research at a national level.
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Google, Flickr, Or Dropbox: Who Should You Trust With Your Photos?

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Silicon Valley is straight up giving away online space for all your precious pics.

But how do you upload your stuff and make it easy to organize?

Could an external drive simply be the best option? Answering these and other photo-saving questions that often crop up.

By: Kevin Purdy

Flickr pulled a Gmail last week, re-launching with a boundary shattering 1 terabyte   of online storage for your photos. That makes Flickr the cheapest and largest option for storing all your digital photos, by far, and arguably the most photo-centric. But is Flickr actually good at backing up and organizing your photos, without asking you to lose an entire weekend to clicking, scrolling, and dragging?

The big tech firms know how many photos we’re all taking, and they all want to be the attic where we store those images. Some make it rather easy to do this; some even want to help with the sorting. Here’s a primer on what kind of experience you can have.

Note: If you don’t have time to think about what kind of photo backup “type” you are, here’s what I recommend–Android users should back up their raw photo stream to Google+, while iPhone owners should get Dropbox and enable Camera Upload. And everyone should occasionally make full backups onto an external drive somewhere in their home. Flickr’s terabyte is nice and huge, but you have to be the one to get everything up there, and you and your hard drive are just too fallible. Right?

Flickr: The Huge, Stylish, Offsite Gallery Space Where You Haul Things

Flickr has always been a photo-forward space, one with a lot of respect for professional and semi-pro shooters and the details they sweat. But Flickr doesn’t make its own phone, laptop, tablet, or other device, so the onus is on you to move your photos over to them.

On the surface, that looks like heading to Flickr’s site and spending a lot of time picking files in a browser. But there are quite a few apps for uploading from various devices. Still, you have to get your photos over to Flickr, and depending on your bandwidth and Yahoo’s server loads, that can take some time.

Once your photos are in, you have Flickr’s photo organizer to manage them. For the 159 photos I have hand-picked and sent to Flickr, the organizer works just fine. If you have hundreds upon hundreds of photos, and they’re roughly organized into events, you can do some sorting, searching, and set-making to get your stuff together. But you’re still the one naming the folders, setting them into the online filing cabinet, and deciding which photos are worth saving, and which are just extras.

And yet: One terabyte gives you a lot of space, away from your house and your tech mistakes, for full-size, original-resolution photos, which is the most future-proof means of backing up your photos. Future-proof, that is, depending on Yahoo’s long-term prospects, but they are more than likely to give everyone a chance to grab their stuff back if the worst comes to pass.

In Other Words, Use Flickr For: The destination of your keeper photos–after you’ve sorted them out in iPhoto, Picasa, or other photo-sorting software.

Google+/Picasa: “Our Datacenter Is Your Darkroom”

Google now offers 15 GB of space for full-size photos uploaded to Google+ (shared with your Gmail and Google Drive space.) That’s the middle range in free offerings (although photos under a certain size don’t count against your space), though the tiers for upgrading are fairly reasonable.

How do you get your photos into Google? A few ways, most fairly automated. If you have an Android phone, you can activate “Auto Backup: (formerly dubbed “Instant Upload”) in the Google+ app. You can also tap a button to upload everything on your phone, which is convenient, and choose whether you’re uploading full-size or otherwise. On the desktop, your best bet is to install Picasa on Mac or Windows and use it to find and upload all your photos: on your computer, on external drives and DVDs, or wherever.

As for organizing, Google does some of it for you. Looking at your photos in Google+, they are broken up into broad date and location categories, so that the 50 photos you took at one beach outing are together, as are the slow trickle of personal shots snapped over 5- or 10-day periods. Each photo is auto-enhanced, and the effect is generally positive, especially for low-light and off-color smartphone shots (but you can turn off the auto-enhancement). Perhaps most importantly, all the photos you “Auto Backup” to Google are stored privately by default, and you don’t have to use Google+ in any fashion to store, view, or download your images.

In Other Words, Use Google+ For: Auto-organizing huge sets of vacation photos and Android backup convenience.

iCloud and Dropbox: For Just Simply Backing It All Up (and for Apple Die-Hards)

iCloud gives you 5 gigabytes of storage for all your iCloud things: documents, non-iTunes-purchased music, tiny calendar/contact things, and photos. It’s $20 per year for another 10 GB and up to $100 pear year for 50 GB. That’s not bad pricing, but what really sells iCloud is the theoretically seamless synchronization between your MacBook, your iPad, your iPhone, your Apple TV. Shoot a photo on your phone, and it’s visible in the Photo Stream on all your devices, and backed up from your Camera Roll. The best tool for organizing all those photos is iPhoto.

If you’d rather separate your photos from Apple’s cloud, or save your free 5 GB for your device backups, you can back up your photos to Dropbox. The iPhone and iPad app offers an automatic Camera Upload option that’s remarkably simple and easy to use, and it’s even polite–it scales itself back when you’re getting close to your data limit.

There is not magical photo managing software with iCloud’s Photo Stream or Dropbox, nor any helper apps. You manage it yourself, using iPhoto, Picasa, Aperture, or whatever you like best. Then again, there’s nothing to say you can’t use these as a secondary backup, if they’re going to go ahead and just give you the space for free.

In Other Words, Use iCloud/Dropbox For: Sheer peace of mind about photo storage, and easy iPhone backup.

Your Own Photo Software and Hard Drives: The Mandatory Option You Don’t Appreciate Enough

Whatever huge online space you use for free, always keep a local copy–that is, something on an external hard drive at your house. Computers get coffee in them, big companies occasionally close services and kill features, and your memory of where everything is can be faulty. Online and auto-organized photo collections are convenient, but don’t pretend your grandchildren will have easy access to your Google account.

In Other Words: Always back up your own stuff at your own house. You will certainly outlast a few of these big data companies.

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Becoming Digital, Or, What Comes Before The Preservation?

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By Susan Manus

As the NDIIPP program name indicates, our mission is focused on digital preservation.  That is, preserving material once it’s in digital form. And by our own definition, digital preservation is “the active management of digital content over time to ensure ongoing access.”

There is also a separate, but related, concept, addressed by the question, “How do items become digital to begin with?”  The answer in short is, items are either “born digital” or they are converted through “digitization”.

“Born digital” is basically an umbrella term for any item that existed originally in digital form.  And these items are now with us, and growing exponentially, on a daily basis!  Some common examples are email and photos taken with a digital camera.  Websites are also included in this category.  (Or “web archiving” “, as we refer to it on an institutional level).

“Digitization”, on the other hand, is the process of converting an original physical item into digital format.  Digitizing can be done with many different types of materials – paper documents, photographs, audio and video.  When digitizing paper documents, for example, the process is accomplished through scanning. (Digitizing audio and video is also quite possible, but more complicated – another matter for another day.)

So, just to be clear, digitization and digital preservation are not the same thing, but they are indeed related Individuals and organizations alike are scanning their ever increasing collections of documents and photographs – either to share with others or simply to save and have on-hand in another format.

Cover of “Fire Away Galop” from the Library’s Civil War Sheet Music collection.

From time to time, we do get questions from the public who want some guidance on digitizing their personal materials. As always, with issues involving personal digital materials, we refer people to our Personal Digital Archiving page which contains advice mainly for the maintaining of digital materials.

But in addition to basic preservation information, we also have a document available to help with that preliminary step, the one that comes before the preservation, scanning your personal collections. Similar to our preservation advice, this document offers up a basic how-to for the scanning of documents and photographs. We include it in our “personal digital archiving” section, but this information is scalable for both small and larger personal collections, and even some organizational collections.

This document, compiled by our staff, offers an explanation of some basic terminology, as well as the steps involved in a basic scanning process.   The document covers the following material:

Prepare the scanner, documents and photos – cleaning everything up before you begin

Terminology and settings – explanations and suggested settings for image resolution, and for three basic image types: bitonal, grayscale and color.

Scan and save – which format is best to save your images

Access and storage – how to organize your scanned images for best access later on

And of course, always read the scanner manual first!

“Scanning Your Personal Collections” also includes preservation steps at the end, under “Make backup copies and manage them in different places”.  So this covers the whole process from start to finish, from the physical, to the digital, to preservation. If you are just beginning to scan your own personal collection, this document can help.

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Personal Archiving Made Simple

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By Susan Manus

The following is a guest post by Barry Wheeler, Digital Projects Coordinator, Office of Strategic Initiatives.

In a previous post I reviewed my process for end-of-the-year archiving of my picture and personal files onto two external hard disk drives. This year I went an extra step, I added all the files saved in my CD-ROM archive over the past 16 years to my external hard disk drive archive. This second step is the subject of this blog post – that is, facing the reality, on a personal level, of all the issues archivists have discussed for years.

The transfer of content from one digital media type to a different type is called “format conversion”, or simply “reformatting”, and is similar to microfilming books and paper materials. This process is critical in the digital world – can any of us in 2012 easily read content from the 8” and 5 ¼” floppy disks so common in the 1980s?  And as I discovered, even though we still have the equipment to read CDs, other issues make the conversion necessary ASAP for those who want to archive their personal materials.

First, a stark summary, as a digital professional, I have 4 CD-ROM drives on MS Windows XP, MS Windows 7, Apple OSX 9.7 and Apple OSX 9.6. I have 62 CD-ROMs dating back to 1998.  Of these CDs, one data disc looked OK but could not be read on any drive.  Later I discovered a broken program disc. There were also two files (on different discs) that could not be read or copied, as well as 252 files that could be copied to the external archive drive but which were reported as “not readable.”

These results represent all the common problems of digital reformatting in general, and of CD-ROMs in particular. Interoperability was an issue for early generations of CD-ROMs , and I found that I needed 3 different CD-ROM drives to read my 62 discs.  CD-ROM deterioration was another issue, particularly with inexpensive discs created on home machines. I could read all of my commercially created discs – all my “read” problems were on inexpensive discs I created myself. Unfortunately, I had not purchased any expensive gold “archival” CD discs – and I certainly should have used those.

The 252 files that were not readable represent the problems of proprietary software and software obsolescence. Several old video formats were not recognized but were readable when I manually associated the video file with newer video software. A multi-file interactive instructional lesson was not recognized – and I have yet to find a copy of the proprietary program used to create and play back the program.

What’s worse, my old federal income tax records from 1999 through 2006 were not readable! I did not have a software program on my computer that could recognize the proprietary file type used to store those records since I changed from one tax preparation program to another in 2007. To read the files I had to retrieve my original tax preparation program discs, a different program for each tax year and load them onto my computer.  But I discovered the disc for one year was broken into pieces – the disk was stored in a standard 3-ring binder of standard CD-ROM sleeves. I don’t know how the disc was broken!

Luckily, when I loaded the 2006 tax preparation software version it was able to read all previous data. For now I’m retaining the program disks – sometime I’ll experiment to determine if I can copy the 2006 program CD of the tax preparation software, which was designed to run on Windows XP, to my external archive hard disks and then install the program to my current Windows 7 computer. In the meantime, I’ve created and saved, on my external disk archive, a simple text file that documents the problem and the location of the original program disk.

These challenges illustrate some common difficulties in retrieving older personal digital records.  For a future blog post I’ll tackle “Step Three – cataloging the archive”.

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Personal Digital Archiving – Scanning DIY or Outsource?

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By Erin Engle

At our personal digital archiving events, we get various questions about scanning family photos, slides, negatives and film. Questions like:  What type of scanner should I use? What resolution should I use?  How can I scan negatives? While we’ve focused on developing tips and resources for saving personal digital materials  created with software and hardware, we recognize that individuals have the both analog and digital materials and are looking for guidance on how to deal with both.

If you’re interested in converting your personal collections of photos or documents to digital files, you have two options. One, you can scan your own materials (or DIY). Two, you can outsource or use a scanning service to do it for you.

Do It Yourself
On our personal digital archiving scanning handout (PDF), we provide some basic steps about digitizing photos, documents and slides using a personal scanner.  This handout is a step-by-step overview touching on preparing the scanner and items, saving scanned items and access and storage tips. As always, when you’re working with your own hardware, consult your scanner’s manual for more specific information.

We also use this blog as an opportunity to informally share with you more detailed tips about scanning your photos or documents.  Barry Wheeler wrote excellent posts, describing scanning resolutions and scanner settings: What resolution should I use, part l and part 2. He does a great job explaining the how and why of the scanning process.

If you plan to embark on a scanning project at some point in the future, there are some resources to help you protect your family collections in the meantime. Most of this advice is preventive and includes low-levels of effort for caring and storing your collections. I’ve found that ALA’s Preservation Week Resource List  points to web-based information by format, which is quite handy if you’re looking for starting points.

Use a Scanning Service
As we’ve mentioned before, we can’t recommend personal archiving commercial services or tools. But if I was choosing a service to digitize my personal collection, these are some factors I would take into consideration based on what’s important to me.

Cost
Digitizing your collection is an investment.  How much are you willing to invest may drive your decision about choosing a service. A quick way to determine costs is to estimate the size of your collection or number of items and find out the service’s price per scan. This will give you a rough idea of the cost.

Aside from the cost of the service, there is also a “hidden” cost of storing your digital files now and in the future. You should have at least two copies of your archive on your choice of media (computer, CD/DVD, external hard drive or cloud). Think about what long-term storage options you’re most comfortable with and look into how much those storage medium cost too.

Scanning resolution
What resolution will the images be scanned at? Commercial scanning resolutions can range from 300 dpi (dots per inch) to 3000 dpi, depending on the type of material scanned.  The higher the dpi, the larger the file, the more storage (on external media, optical or cloud) it requires.

The service may offer different resolution options so think about what you want to do with your scanned materials, particularly the photos. If you’re interested in sharing them, uploading them to photo sharing sites or printing them out, the resolution matters.  For example, if you’ll print photos at 4”x6” and 5”x7”, they can be scanned at 300 dpi. Larger print sizes, like 8″x10″ can be scanned at 600 dpi or greater. If you’re most concerned with saving them long-term, the highest-quality setting may be your best option.

Format
What file format will your converted materials will be delivered in?

For photographs, JPEG (JPG) and TIFF (.TIF) are the standard file formats most commercial services use for conversion.  Generally, the JPEG format is a long-term consumer-level storage format, and it is also good for viewing software, uploading to photo sharing sites, or emailing. TIFF is generally thought of as a good long-term archival format when file size is not a consideration. TIFF files uncompressed and are larger than JPEGs, and therefore quite large. Again, the larger the file, the more storage space they require.

Scanned documents can be saved as TIFFs or PDFs (PDF). Both formats are portable and accessible. PDFs enable smaller file size versus TIFF.   There are arguments for the merits of using either for long-term access, so it may come down to which format you’re more familiar working with or have knowledge about.

Storage and Access
Once your collection is converted, how does the service deliver your digital files? Does it return them on CD’s or DVD’s, external drives, or offer copies in the cloud?  Does it provide you with the option of copies on multiple storage media? Some services now provide online access for photos, which may allow you to share and download them.  Keep in mind that saving the only copy of your photos on photo sharing sites is not a best practice.

Care and Handling
How does the company care for and handle your materials? Does it restore old, fragile or damaged photos, documents or film? Careless handling during the conversion process could lead to damage of your originals.

Another thing to think about is if you’ll ship your collection to the service. There are no guarantees of safety or security with mailing services. If this is a concern, look into local scanning services where you can drop off your materials instead of shipping them.

Like I said, these are the factors I would take into consideration when choosing a scanning service.  Converting your family collections to into digital formats is a transition or preparation step to managing your entire personal digital archive.  Those digital files, along with any personal born-digital materials, can then be cared for long-term in the same way.

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Mission Possible: An Easy Way to Add Descriptions to Digital Photos

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By Mike Ashenfelder

“I just want to use it; I don’t want to know how it works.” – Unknown

My Signal colleagues and I give out digital-preservation advice based on our research, our experiences and our understanding of best practices. We also pay attention to questions from the general public, with whom we interact at events such as the National Book Festival, Personal Archiving Day at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s Saving Our African American Treasures. By far, most of the questions we get asked are about digital photos and we expertly answer almost every question.

Almost.

Our main concern is for everyone to back up and care for their digital photos. But we’re also eager to explain the innards of digital photos. We talk about file formats and the effects of compression. We explain photometadata and show EXIF examples. We’ve made an  informational video about photometadata, written about our NDIIPP project with the Stock Artists Alliance,   and, as part of that project, interviewed photometadata evangelist David Riecks .

Aside from encouraging people to back up their digital photos, we also push for them to add descriptions. And that part is tricky.

We make the analogy that adding a description to a digital photo is like writing on the back of a paper photo. But honestly, writing on the back of a paper photo is a breeze by comparison. And there is a simple question people ask us to whom we don’t have a simple answer: “How?” Because it’s not easy. In fact, it’s much more difficult than it should be.

Photography professionals routinely use photo-editing software to add photometadata to their digital photos for copyright and business reasons. To them, the process is simple, mainly because they’ve mastered it. As the saying goes, “The obvious is already known.” However, the process is challenging for a newcomer.

The steps are usually a variation on: starting the software, opening the photo, selecting the menu options File > Get Info and typing text into fields. To complicate matters though, the field names and terminology are maddeningly similar and possibly different from program to program. Is “caption” the same as “description”? Which fields should I use? Which fields equate to writing on the back of a paper photo? And to further complicate the process, depending on the software, a description added to a photo might not actually get embedded into the photo file; it might be visible only with the software you used to embed the description. Our goal is to embed the description so that it always remains stored in the photo file, no matter where the photo goes or what you view the photo on or with.

The larger problem is not so much with the photo-editing software. The problem is requiring people to use photo-editing software at all to add descriptions.

Given the choice, most of us would not bother. Or we would put that chore at the end of our long list of chores. Library staff found from interactions with the public that it’s common for people to leave their photos on their smart phones or on SD cards, so requiring people to struggle with photo-editing software in order to add descriptions is not realistic.

The encouraging news is that it shouldn’t take much technologically to simplify the process, to maybe have a button on the camera that says, “Add Description.” Or a smart-phone app that has the same function. Click a button, display a Description field for the photo, type in text and you’re done.

David Riecks said that the idea is not new. “I raised this same argument at the first International Photo Metadata Conference in 2007,” said Riecks. Nothing came of it though, even though there were a group of engineers from major camera manufacturers in attendance. Riecks said that, still, it is up to the manufacturers to add this feature and make it interoperable with the current metadata schemas.

And if you send a digital photo to me into which you’ve added a description, I should be able to see that description as easily as I can see the title of a song playing on my smart phone. It’s just text embedded into a file.

The same could be said for an “Add Description” feature. People might be more inclined to add descriptions if it just takes the push of a button and a moment of typing. Of course, not everyone will add descriptions, just as not everyone writes descriptions on paper photos. But it’s nice to have the option.

The idea of enabling camera users to add descriptions via the camera is not new. Almost 100 years ago, a major camera manufacturer included an autographic feature on special cameras, enabling users to write captions on film. For whatever reason, that feature never became popular. Maybe because it was easier to just write on the paper photo. But at least the company did develop the feature in response to a need.

Riecks points out those manufacturers react to what people voice and what the market expects, and manufacturers seek out suggestions for future improvements. He encourages people to consider contacting their camera’s manufacturer and simply asking for the feature. He has that contact information, and more, listed on the photometadata.org blog.

At the Library of Congress, we encourage people to add descriptions to photo files as a good archival practice. And we hope that camera manufactures will implement this feature soon so that all photo takers can easily add descriptions to their photos. As consumers and institutions accumulate photos and pass them along to others, those who receive the photos will appreciate the embedded information.

Modern digital cameras are amazing and getting better all the time. I took this photo of the river near my house using my smart phone. It took just a few moments of poking and tapping at the screen controls to zoom, adjusts the lighting, focus and shoot. And the photo is as good as anything I’ve taken on my “good” camera.

Your experiences and input may help move the Add Description feature closer to a reality.

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Basic Principles of Archiving Photographs and Documents

Source: Archive History

Photograph inside the Beachy Store in Yoder, Kansas about 1933.

Photograph inside the Beachy Store in Yoder, Kansas about 1933.

Digital archives can greatly enhance the preservation and sharing of historical information.

An historical photograph archive intended to be accessible for at least 50 years will be handled differently than a personal photograph collection.

The master images in an historical archive are intended to be suitable for many different uses for decades in the future. The documentation for an item perpetually stays with the master image.

Working copies of the master images are made when adapting the images for particular uses.

At least three copies of the archive should be maintained, including at least one copy at a different location. Distributing copies of the archive to others can achieve this result.

With current technology, the digital files in the archive should be transferred to new storage media at least approximately every two to four years. This needs to be done even when the person establishing the archive is no longer able to do it.

For family archives, a good strategy for long-term preservation of the original items after the digital images have been made is to donate the items to a museum, library, or archive.

A backup copy of a digital archive must be made because the disk drive on a computer can irretrievably fail at any time. I had a hard disk failure several years ago and know a person who had a complete disk failure twice in the past few years. Also, backup copies are important protection from viruses and other malware that are a major threat to a computer system. Of course, backup copies of the entire computer system should also be made in addition to the historical archives.

Backups should be done frequently and migrated to new media. The media for storing the backup changes as technology advances. A few years ago I used CDs and DVDs for backup. Now I use external disk drives. An historical archive must be migrated to new media as technology changes. The idea that a person can make one backup copy that will last for decades is not applicable. The backup copy can fail and also has a high probability of becoming obsolete media. For an organization with a professionally managed computer network, backups will normally be handled by an Information Technology Department and should meet the criteria described here.

At least three copies of an archive should be maintained, and preferably more. At least one of the copies should be in a different location. The minimum copies of my historical archives typically include:
1. The primary copy on my computer.
2.  A backup copy on an external drive by the computer.
3.  Another backup copy on an external drive that is in a safe deposit box at a bank.
4.  One or more copies on Blu-Ray that have been given to people who are interested in the archive.

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