What are Preservation and Conservation Technologies?


As long as there have been museums, their mission has been to preserve and conserve our collective cultural heritage. Preservation refers to the protection of important objects, artifacts, and documents; conservation is the science of maintaining objects in as close to their original form as possible. As technology evolves, archivists and conservators have encountered a steady stream of new challenges in both of these tasks. Digital objects can be as delicate as ancient objects, requiring special care, and changing technologies puts these digital items at great risk. Cultural works that are time-based add a level of complexity in the quest for preservation, due to the added consideration of the artist's intent, or context, or movement. Understanding and preserving how media is intended to be experienced while maintaining the integrity of its cultural identity encompasses a number of a considerations such as conservation ethics, legal agreements, availability of mechanical and/or digital materials, and historical scholarship. While museums have long employed specialists in artifact preservation, today new professionals are needed who understand digital and time-based media, and can address preservation and conservation challenges not only from physical, but artistic, cultural, engineering, electronic, and other multi-disciplinary perspectives.


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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - MarwinBritto MarwinBritto Aug 9, 2016This has tremendous implications for academic and research libraries in terms of digital and special collections, institutional archives and supporting the proliferation of digital humanities projects. As more and more institutions accept new forms of creative and scholarly work for promotion/tenure faculty, an investment in these resources will be critical.- ole ole Aug 18, 2016 - helga helga Sep 19, 2016
  • - dkernohan dkernohan Aug 15, 2016 the need to preserve research outputs (especially data) to support replication and quality assurance. Arkivum are the UK market leaders in the emerging world of "archive as a service" http://arkivum.com

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - dkernohan dkernohan Aug 15, 2016 Is it too early to declare "repository 2.0"? There has been a lot of movement in the Fedora-based end of the repositories word (see the Hydra-in-a-box and Islandora projects for examples of (respectively) focus on ease of deployment and CMS-style functionality. I wish I could say something similar for the scary world of the CRIS - everyone needs one, but only Thomson Reuters (Converis) and Elsevier (PURE) appear to be widely offering solutions - and both of these have limitations for certain use cases.
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?


(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • In the Learning Innovation Lab (LINNEA), at University of Chihuahua, Mexico, there are some ongoing projects (some of them with participation of National Geographic Explorers) as "Reto Holtun", a Virtual reality conservation video game where the use can "visit" and solve missions immersing themselves in a sacred underwater cave, currently forbidden for the general public. In the same context, LINNEA has partnered with MIT students to create Yewho, a mobile app that allow the user to measure her own carbon consumption, in a gammificated experience. ----
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