Assignment Two
Final Project


Please choose either a  research paper or in-depth, individual project with a written component on a digital preservation topic of your choice.

  1. Research Paper – Write a 15 page research paper on a subject relating to digital preservation that is of interest to you and draws from themes presented in class.

  2. Project & Paper – Conduct a digital preservation project, such as a collection assessment and/or digital preservation plan and document your findings in a 10 – 12 page paper.

Discuss your proposed topic with the instructor in October or November. You must turn in a formal project/paper proposal no later than November 6th, and the instructor must approve your topic and scope. If you choose a project, your proposal should include an overview of the project, proposed steps to complete the project, a list of resources required for project completion, and a rough outline for a 10 - 12 page paper. If you choose a research paper, your proposal should include a brief description of the topic you intend to research, several works you plan to cite in your bibliography, and a rough paper outline. Before submitting your proposal, please ensure your project or paper topic relates to themes and topics covered in class, or are directly applicable to digital preservation. Once your paper topic is approved via email, it cannot be changed.

Papers are expected to contain a clearly labeled thesis (or project) statement as well as an introduction, body and conclusion. Research papers must include a thesis statement that defines the argument you plan to support in the body of the essay to follow. Projects must include a project statement that defines the project itself and its purpose. Your final paper must include a bibliography of literature and other resources (articles, videos, websites, personal email communication, interviews, etc.) that informed your work. Please use prose description in your paper, and refrain from using bullet points or lists.


Deliverables & Due Dates

  1. Tuesday, November 5th – One-page proposal

  2. Tuesday, December 10th Twenty minute in-class presentation, including Q&A

  3. Friday, December 13th, 6pm – Final paper + works cited

Possible Projects & Topics

  1. Comparisons – Discuss different types of storage media, file formats, wrappers, codecs, or other building blocks of digital objects, systems, or architecture, and compare these elements as they relate to digital preservation.

  2. Histories – Research the histories of computer systems or environments, file formats, computing protocols (file systems, networking, etc.), or software applications, and explain how their makeup and trajectory throughout their usage over time presents digital preservation challenges, or facilitates long term sustainability of digital objects or systems.

  3. Assessment – Make a collection assessment and digital preservation plan for a small digital collection and document your findings and experience in an 10 - 12 page paper.

  4. Technology Review – Perform an in-depth study of a hardware or software technology, tool or process used for digital preservation (JHOVE/DROID, PREMIS, Webrecorder, LTO tape). For example, explore the development, historical context, and common usage of the SHA-1 checksum algorithm. Describe its use for digital preservation, review the technology behind it, and explore its usage in digital archives and repositories. 

  5. Research a Preservation Initiative – Research the history of a large or small-scale digital preservation initiative (The Landmark Study, OAIS, library or community digital archiving initiative, etc.). Describe the initiative in detail, including historical context and effect on a designated community and the digital preservation community as a whole. Did the initiative meet its goals? Was it successful? Is it a work in progress, and if so, how has it effected its user base?

  6. Digital Preservation Case Studies– Choose one topic from class relating to digital preservation (format identification, digital object specifications, storage or storage media, fixity) and ask several archivists or practitioners about their approach to that subject.