Skip to main content

Disk Imaging, Software, and Emulation

"The Archivist’s Guide to KryoFlux" by Shira Peltzman, Dorothy Waugh, et al. 2018. User's Manual.
Collaborative resource and user's manual for KryoFlux hardware and associated software designed to recover from floppy disks and other early removable media formats.

“Challenges of Removable Media in Digital Preservation” by Eddy Colloton. 2017. Web resource.
Indispensable list of resources from a supreme professional.

“Emulation and Access” by Dragan Espenschied. 2017. Video.
Excellent 20-minute discussion about preserving born-digital works and bringing them to life via emulators. Conceptual outline of four types of disk images: Base Images; Imaged Media; Imaged Systems; and, Synthetic Images. Comments and examples of emulated works in exhibition contexts. Detailed discussion of key emulation considerations, including: Information management and meaningful abstraction; Flexibility in separating artefact from environment; Stability with regards to the emulation process; and, Fidelity of the artwork. Brief demonstration of Rhizome’s in-development EAS Desktop public emulation service. From the Peer Forum I: Disk Imaging (December 7, 2017 at the Museum of Modern Art).

“Policy and Procedures” from Media Conservation Initiative, Museum of Modern Art. 2017. Web resource.
Detailed collaborative document outlining: “Disk Image Acquisition” (by media format); “Documentation” (about all aspects of the disk imaging process); “Condition Assessment” (processes of verifying validity and usability, including usability ‘tests’); and, “Uses and Access.” From the Peer Forum I: Disk Imaging (December 7-8, 2017 at the Museum of Modern Art).

“A (Brief) History of Disk Imaging” by Kam Woods. 2017. Video.
Excellent 20-minute survey history of disk imaging practices and overview of software and hardware options. Woods highlights specific widely-used tools at libraries, archives, and museums. From the Peer Forum I: Disk Imaging (December 7-8, 2017 at the Museum of Modern Art).

"Tech-Focus III: Caring for Software-based Art" by Ben Fino-Radin. 2015. Video.
Basic overview on conservation of digital disks, with limited disk imaging demos of software dd (command line), ddrescue (command line), and guymager (GUI). After creation of bit-level disk image copies, Fino-Radin demos use of fiwalk to create .XML metadata files about disk images, and mentions idea of emulation for disk images (no demo). From the Practical Session Part III (September 26, 2015 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum).

"Digital Media in Art: Meaning, Materiality, Digital Forensics Workflows, and Conservation" by Amy Brost. 2015. Student paper.
Consideration of principles and approaches to time-based media conservation using case studies of Jennifer McCoy and Kevin McCoy’s artwork Every Shot, Every Episode (2001) and the digital papers of artist Jeremy Blake. Format-specific “Video Compact Disc” (VCD) dependencies of the McCoys work are analyzed, including: degradation considerations regarding optical disc media; and, interactivity challenges regarding emulated instantiations of the original work. For Blake’s digital papers (including CDs and Zip disks), the establishment of digital forensics workflows at NYU Libraries are chronicled, and Brost includes discussion of disk imaging workflow specifics, including: distinctions between forensic, physical, and logical disk images; and disk imaging software tools BitCurator, Forensic Tool Kit (FTK).

"Digital Forensics and Digital Preservation: An Interview with Kam Woods of BitCurator" by Butch Lazorchak. 2015. Web resource.
Blog-format interview with BitCurator Technical Lead, Kam Woods. Topics include: brief history of the open-source project; outline of the steps in the disk imaging process; and, emulation solutions for disk imaged material.

"Risk Assessment as a Tool in the Conservation of Software-based Artworks" by Patricia Falcao. 2012. Article.
Proposes a model for evaluating obsolescence risks using four software-based artworks from the 2000s held at the Tate museum. Stresses importance of such evaluations early in an artwork’s life cycle, especially at points of institutional acquisition and exhibition. Focus on concepts and stages of risk, in lieu of practical tools.

"Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections" by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Richard Ovenden, and Gabriela Redwine. Council on Library and Information Resources. 2010. Article.
A discussion of the methods and tools developed by forensics experts and their relevance to key issues and challenges in the archives and curatorial community.

"Avoiding Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation." by Jeff Rothenberg. 1999. Study.
Core and founding research paper proposing emulation as a long-term preservation strategy for digital data.

Back to Top