E-ternally yours : the case for the development of a reliable repository for the preservation of personal digital objects


This paper examines the feasibility of establishing reliable repositories intended for the use of the average individual for the preservation of personal digital objects. Observers of technological change warn of the coming of a "digital dark age." Rather than being systematic, the attempts of the average individual to preserve his or her personal digital objects - photos, documents, music - are ad hoc, at best. Digital archiving involves challenges both in terms of hardware reliability and software obsolescence, and requires a blend of technology platforms, legal and public policies, and organizational structure. These three areas must be combined in a cohesive manner in order to facilitate the preservation of personal digital objects for periods of decades or even centuries. Regarding the issue of technological feasibility, I present an examination of work that has already been performed in the field of digital preservation, including an assessment ofDSpace, an open source platform used in institutional repositories to encapsulate data for long term archival. I then introduce my development of Alexandria@CyberStreet.com as an exploration of how a DSpace installation may be modified to suit the needs of personal archiving. Next, I present an examination of the legal and public policy issues concerning such a repository. Finally, I examine organizations that are devoted to the oversight of long-term endeavors and draw conclusions as to an appropriate administrative structure. I conclude that there are sufficient technological tools, public policies and organizational models in place to enable establishment of reliable, long term repositories for personal digital objects.


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Thesis Completion





Motlagh, Bahman


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Information Systems Technology


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science;Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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