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More Holy PetaBytes! MoMA’s Digital Art Vault

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Last week I blogged about HGST’s Active Archiving system. Now here’s a look at the massive data collection and organization challenges facing MoMa, as the digitze and catalog four decades worth of video art.

Inside/Out by Ben Fino-Radin

Recently on Inside/Out, we heard from Assistant Media Conservator Peter Oleksik about MoMA’s efforts to preserve and digitize its collection of analog video art, amassed over the course of four decades. The heroic undertaking of digitizing over 4,000 videotapes was absolutely critical for preservation and access purposes. However, when we digitize analog videotape, we have just begun a new chapter in the artwork’s life, one that is rife with grave challenges and risks that are unique to digital materials. In another recent post, we learned from Media Conservator Kate Lewis that it is increasingly common for time-based media artworks to be delivered to the Museum in digital form, due to evolving tools and artistic practices. Today I’ll describe how MoMA has faced head-on the significant challenges in digital preservation by designing a state-of-the-art digital vault for these collections. In order to distill some rather technical and complex ideas that inform this effort, I’ll break this digital art vault down into three parts: the packager, the warehouse, and the indexer.

This system will allow us to store the projected 1.2 million gigabytes of digital collections material redundantly in three locations: the Museum, our art storage facility in Long Island City, and our film preservation center in Hamlin, Pennsylvania. read more…

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