variable media

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Dig 540 WordleIt’s hard to find a collecting institution that doesn’t have a Web site these days, and you’re going to need to know MySQL and PHP to run most of them. But training as an archivist or librarian doesn’t teach you how to customize a Web site. What’s a digital curator to do?

Answer: take the brand-new “Digital Collections and Exhibitions” course debuting online this September.

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13washington Digital Curation sum 1 illWhether they manage bits for their local historical society or the Library of Congress, the digital era has placed added demands on today’s curators. The growing need for training in these new skills is one of the motivations for the University of Maine’s just-launched Digital Curation graduate program, but U-Me is not alone in recognizing this need.

On January 8th a Digital Curation summit in Washington, DC, brought together educators from U-Me together with the first wave of digital curation programs to meet with professional curators, librarians, and archivists from nationwide institutions with the aim of defining the knowledge and skills needed by today’s information caretakers.

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Colby Museum RenderingWhen it reopens on July 13 after a major renovation, the Colby College Museum will become the largest art museum in Maine. Front and center for the opening will be the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, a monumental space that calls out for innovative programming.

Colby’s Sharon Corwin and Patricia King invited Still Water to brainstorm with their staff about how to make the white cube a destination for today’s media-savvy creators.

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CivPreserving Virtual Worlds, an IMLS-funded initiative organized by the universities of Illinois, Stanford, and Maryland, was founded with an ambitious goal: to explore innovative methods for preserving the rich legacy of video games. Its case studies have ranged from vintage games like DOOM and Harpoon to more contemporary Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games such as World of Warcraft. The initiative even attempted to recommend options for documenting complex multiplayer environments such as Second Life.

The consortium’s organizers, led by Jerome McDonough of Illinois, invited Still Water Senior Researcher John Bell and co-director Jon Ippolito to their December advisory board meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways that Preserving Virtual Worlds could take advantage of Still Water’s preservation and access tools such as the Variable Media Questionnaire and the Metaserver.

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Re Collection LogoRe-Collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory will be the first full-length academic book on preserving digital media. Due out this coming year from MIT Press, the publication is a collaboration between Still Water’s Jon Ippolito and Richard Rinehart, director of the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell.

Re-collection argues that the default strategies for safeguarding media in the 20th century are utterly inadequate for preserving culture in the 21st. While the quantity of cultural artifacts has been increasing dramatically, the average lifespan of each artifact is shrinking due to technological obsolescence and cultural amnesia.

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Avicom LogoThe keynote for this year’s International Audiovisual Festival on Museums and Heritage focuses on very new–and very old–technologies for crowdsourcing the curation and preservation of culture. Delivered by Still Water Co-Director Jon Ippolito, the presentation “Re-collection” draws on themes from the forthcoming book of the same name.

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The past few months have seen a spate of news stories that feature Still Water co-directors in TV, print, and online outlets. Here are some of the highlights:

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Digital Curation Logo illSyllabi are now online for the four core courses of the University of Maine’s brand new Digital Curation program. These include online classes in digital acquisition (DIG 500), representation (DIG 510), access (DIG 540), and preservation (DIG 550).

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Digital Curation LogoThe Digital Curation program is a two-year graduate certificate, taught online, intended for professionals working in museums, archives, artist studios, government offices, and anywhere that people need to manage digital files. The program walks students through the phases of managing digitized or born-digital artifacts, including acquisition, representation, access, and preservation. Registration opens soon!

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11florianopolis Abciber 8 illWhich is the oldest human record?

In his keynote presentation to the National Symposium of Brazilian Cyberculture, Jon Ippolito argues it is lurking in the Amazon rainforest.

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