"The Old Version Flickers More": Digital Preservation from the User's Perspective

Abstract

Most criteria for evaluating digital preservation strategies are based on needs and requirements from the archivist's perspective. In the CAMiLEON Project, we wanted to learn what significant propertiesusers consider worth preserving. In this article, we present the results of two experiments that used human subjects to learn about user preferences for different formats of preserved digital objects. We tested subjects' reactions to digital materials that were preserved using three common methods: 1) conversion to a "software-independent" format; 2) migration; and 3) presenting the original bitstream using emulation. The results of this exploratory study suggest directions for further research and help archivists understand how user needs and preferences may inform selection of preservation methods. Further research on the effectiveness of emulation and migration needs to account for the quality of the emulator, the impact of specific approaches to migration on document attributes and behaviors, and numerous aspects of the original computing environment that may affect the user experience. Research on the importance of authenticity should consider how users judge authenticity and the tradeoffs they are willing to make between using the original source and the ease of access and use. For more than forty years, archivists have debated the best strategies and methods for preserving digital information. They hold strong opinions about the feasibility and effectiveness of different digital preservation strategies, whether preserving data in software-independent formats, migration, or emulation. Most evaluations of these strategies have been based on the relative merits of theoretical models, pilot projects, or practical experience in The American Archivist, Vol. 69 (Spring/Summer 2006) ) 5 9 ) 8 7 159

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Pugh2006TheOV, title={"The Old Version Flickers More": Digital Preservation from the User's Perspective}, author={Mary Jo V. Pugh and Randall C. Jimerson and Laura L Millar and Kyong Rae Lee and Reagan Moore and Clifford A. Lampe and Wendy M. Duff and Amy Marshall and Carrie Limkilde and Marlene van Ballegooie and Susan Salis and Susan S Swan and Susan E. Davis and Robert F. Berkhofer and E. Chris Garrison and Margaret Hedstrom and Christopher A. Lee and Judith and Scott Olson}, year={2006} }