Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

University of Maryland

Archive for Research

Digital Forensics Report Now Out

Forensics ReportI’m very happy to announce the availability of Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections, a new CLIR report emerging from the Mellon-sponsored workshop on the same topic held last spring here at the University of Maryland. The report (written by myself, Richard Ovenden, and Gabriela Redwine, with research assistance from Rachel Donahue) introduces the field of digital forensics in the cultural heritage sector and explores some points of convergence between the interests of those charged with collecting and maintaining born-digital cultural heritage materials and those charged with collecting and maintaining legal evidence.

Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections is available electronically at http://www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub149abst.html. Print copies will be available in January for ordering through CLIR’s Web site, for $25 per copy plus shipping and handling.

Play the Past

I am very pleased to announce that I have signed on as a regular contributor to Play the Past, a new group blog on meaningful play and cultural heritage. For me, Play the Past represents an opportunity to continue to develop the explorations I began in my now dormant Zone of Influence blog on tabletop historical gaming. Only here I get to do it in the company of some truly fabulous collaborators. My beat on Play the Past will consist primarily of tabletop wargames, or conflict simulations as they are sometimes known. My first post, “Conflicting the Past,” explains why all of this interests me.

Preserving Virtual Worlds News

A trifecta of exciting news items from the Preserving Virtual Worlds project, on which I have been a co-PI alongside of researchers here at Maryland, as well as the University of Illinois, Stanford University, and the Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as Linden Lab, creators of Second Life.

First, the project has released its final report, 195 pages detailing two years worth of findings from our research, including such topics as emulation, virtualization, migration, archival description, collections policy, hardware stemmatics, Rosetta computing, and disk image forensics.

PVW has also been shortlisted as one of five finalists for the prestigious 2010 Digital Preservation Award, sponsored by the Digital Preservation Coalition and the Institute for Conservation. The winner will be announced in December.

Finally, we received the very welcome news that the next two-year iteration of the project will be funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Preserving Virtual Worlds II: Methods for Evaluating and Preserving Significant Properties of Educational Games and Complex Interactive Environments (PVW2) will be conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois (lead institution), the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Stanford University. PVW2 plans to help improve the capacity of libraries, museums, and archives to preserve computer games, virtual worlds, and interactive fiction. Full press release here.

Computer Forensics and Cultural Heritage Meeting

On May 14 and 15th I hosted an invitational meeting sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on the topic of Computer Forensics and Cultural Heritage, which brought to campus over 60 specialists and researchers from the US, Canada, and the UK. The meeting was the first of its kind to discuss the role of forensic computing for born-digital literary and other cultural and creative materials. You can see some pictures here and follow the tweet stream here.

A report entitled Computer Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections by myself and my co-authors Richard Ovenden and Gabriela Redwine will be published in the fall by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Kojo Nnamdi Show

Yesterday I was a studio guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, discussing Preserving Virtual Worlds with my project colleagues Jerome McDonough from the University of Illinois and Abigail Potter from the Library of Congress. You can listen to the broadcast here.

Computer Forensics and Cultural Heritage

An invitational meeting I’m organizing this May at Maryland in support of a report I am co-authoring, Computer Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and to be published in late 2010 by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

RCCS Reviews

My book Mechanisms was published two years ago this December; I took the opportunity of a pair of recent reviews online at the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies to write a response reflceting on some of the book’s work and reception.