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Thursday, May 16 • 8:30am - 10:00am
(Electronic Media) Towards Best Practices In Disk Imaging: A Cross-Institutional Approach

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Over the past several years, the prevalence of computer and software-based art in contemporary museum collections has prompted serious discussion and research, through various forums, symposia, and peer networks, to address the unique challenges in caring for these types of artworks.

Within this context, media conservators have sought tools and techniques to deal with the urgent need to backup data from aging computers, hard drives, floppy disks, and optical discs in museum collections. One practice that is emerging amongst conservators, drawing from digital forensics and widely adopted by libraries and archives, is disk imaging. A disk image, a bit-for-bit copy of a digital storage device, is a powerful tool for encapsulating both the artwork, and its software environment, for preservation or documentation. However, the vast array of formats, tools and procedures used in disk imaging, and practiced in various disciplines for different purposes, often exacerbate the difficulties in finding appropriate procedures and workflows that suit museum collections.

This panel will share the findings of a year-long cross-institutional collaborative examination of disk imaging between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The four panelists, drawing on case-studies, will jointly examine questions related to creating, condition checking, accessing, and storing disk images. The panelists will address some key issues including:

  1. Differences between target disk image formats and tools used for creating such disk images, their respective advantages and disadvantages, and their suitability for long-term preservation;
  2. the development of practices and guidelines for condition-checking, quality control, and troubleshooting of disk images after their creation, and; 
  3. the difficulties of using a disk image to run a software-based artwork independent of the original hardware while ensuring a faithful representation of the work and its core work-defining properties. 

Recognizing that the creation of a disk image is just one step at the beginning of an artwork’s preservation life-cycle, the panelists will engage in a frank and open discussion about their successes and failures with creating and managing disk images. By sharing their findings, the panelists seek to demystify disk imaging for the purposes of long-term preservation and display within an art museum, focusing on the tools used for creating disk images and accessing them in the future. This panel hopes to generate a dialogue which will continue to develop as conservators adopt and experiment with these methods.

avatar for Eddy Colloton

Eddy Colloton

Project Conservator of Time Based Media, Hirshhorn
Eddy Colloton is currently a Time Based Media Preservation Specialist for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where he works closely with the conservation department on the museum’s diverse array of media artworks. In May of 2016, he received his MA degree from the Moving... Read More →
avatar for Jonathan Farbowitz

Jonathan Farbowitz

Fellow in the Conservation of Computer-based Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Jonathan Farbowitz, Fellow in the Conservation of Computer-based Art, assists the Guggenheim’s Conservation department in addressing the preservation needs of computer-based works in the Guggenheim’s collection. He also supports the development of best practices for collecting... Read More →
avatar for Flaminia Fortunato

Flaminia Fortunato

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Media Conservation, Museum of Modern Art in New York
Flaminia Fortunato is currently a Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Media Conservation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As part of the Media Conservation team at the museum she is involved in day to day acquisition, documentation, installation and conservation of the media collection... Read More →
avatar for Caroline Gil

Caroline Gil

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Media Conservation, Museum of Modern Art
Caroline Gil is a Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Media Conservation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At MoMA, she collaboratively works with the media conservation team in the acquisition, exhibition, preventive conservation, and research of the collection’s audio, film, video... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 8:30am - 10:00am EDT
Passamaquoddy/Brothertown Rooms Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  Specialty Session, Electronic Media
  • Track Electronic Media
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Eddy Colloton, Jonathan Farbowitz, Flaminia Fortunato, Caroline Gil
  • Abstract ID 19002
  • Tags Disk Image,Hard drive,software-based art,digital preservation,collaboration,cross-institutional