All posts tagged with systems infrastructures

s&i notes

front matter

standards: don’t be encyclopedic, find standards that are interesting and unpack the implications. in terms of RAND i’d imagine this would be the report format and language tied to it.

next week we don’t meet (2/19). The following week (2/26) requires a storyboard. 2/21 she’s available for drop in here b/w 9-12

begin considering the infrastructure for yr paper; start assembling the media clips as well.

homework: bib and standards piece (100 words?)

bib is more on research, theoretical underpinnings of video. annotation describes how piece illuminates work.

kristen checking in for next writing response. email questions, no festering if confused.

bib: approximately ten resources, 2-3 sentences

writing response: focus on question of topic?

definitions of infrastructure

networks, connectivity, wittgenstein’s series of games, a series of broken systems.

wk 6 a good check up, we’ve obfuscated enough, best to talk about what it means now.

other definitions, see if they match up on our own.

systems that enable circulation of goods, knowledge, meaning, people, and power Lockrem and Lugo

material forms that allow for the possibility of exchange over space. they are the physical networks through which goods, ideas, waste, power, people, and finance are trafficked Larkin

material sites and objects that are organized to produce a larger, dispersed yet integrated system for distributing material of value, whether water, electrical currents, or audiovisual signals Parks

a collective term for the subordinate parts of an undertaking; substructural foundation OED

layers of an onion. web, relative. it means something, it’s submerged, communicates something.

it’s infrastructures all the way down.

larkin on infrastructure life in africa:

everyday life plus ambient experience (five senses)

why are standards important

allow moving accross time and space. controls the ebb and flow of innovation; have a constraining role. bring stability. vector for growth; ascii makes everyone opt in. a normalizing influence. set expectations, coverage over space and time, enable modularity. ownership.

susan leigh star passage

. “The power of feminist analysis is to move from the experience of being a nonuser, an outcast or a castaway, to the analysis of the fact of McDonald’s (and by extension, many other technologies) — and implicitly to the fact that ‘it might have been otherwise,’ —there is nothing necessary or inevitable about the presence of such franchises” (38).

making a case for feminist analysis in the analysis of standards; token identities are scratching the surface and privileging the standard-setters. Multiplicities exist and non-majorities are at state of alienation attempting to interact with the network.

“And part of the public stability of a standardized network often involves the private suffering of those who are not standard — who must use the standard network, but who are also non-members of the community of practice” (43).

standards come with a cost; some of us don’t fit within the standards the infrastructure was designed for.

free meels being pb sammies, parent fought to keep 2000 to make the school pb free. needed to acknowledge it.

she is pointing at new ways of seeing possibilities in the world by seeing what the world is like for people that don’t fit standards.

“Similarly, our experiences of enrolment and our encounters with standards are complexly woven and indeterminate. We grow and negotiate new selves, some labelled and some not. Some are unproblematic in their multiplicity; some cause great anguish and the felt need for unification, especially those that claim sovereignty over the entire self” (50).

the nonbinary gender student anecdote and being forced to choose.

interpolation into a network is work and suffering for many.

“Because we are all members of more than one community of practice and thus of many networks, at the moment of action we draw together repertoires mixed from different worlds” (52).

switching between networks and being between networks is painful and interesting.

“This is that which is permanently escaping, subverting, but nevertheless in relationship with the standardized” (39).

the high tension zone that’s full of possibility.

“We are the ones who have done the invisible work of creating a unity of action in the face of a multiplicity of selves, as well as, and at the same time, the invisible work of lending unity to the face of the torturer or of the executive” (29).

symbolism of the standard; putting in a wheelchair ramp as a symbol in a place lacking them.

role of standards as information scientists

what are we losing when we create systems that exclude? challenging interpolation hurts them and us.

digital archivist, special collections


acronym central. shira will try to explain all of them, will go fast.

what are they

standards for digital archives are new; it’s a new field. no right way, definitely some wrong ways.

digital archives: digitized material available online

sorta true. most people in the field refer to material created and managed in digital form.

born digital

digital archives

lives at the intersection of archives, libraries, and digital preservation

holy cow look at this slide:

the lifecycle of digital archives


negotiate appraise, collect. looking at stuff when it’s physical. but what if you get a hard drive or a floppy disk or another floppy disk?

files have complex interdependencies; filesytem, os, the software that created it, video cards that made it. basically it’s hard to tell at a glance. then what about the contextual information, i.e. how did they end up there, who else used them, etc.

our ability to archive is contingent of how much metadata we gather on the onset.


two thirds of a standards trifecta. third one tbd.

standards definition is confusing af.

OAIS get put keep and show stuff.

ISO standard means there’s wide consensus; oais & paimas written for space data; very specific context! (consultative committee for space data systems)

designed to fit ALL formats and systems. routinely fail to meet specific needs of special collections and archives. i.e. digital av material.

born digital material very heterogenous in nature made outside of controlled condition. reminds me of the zappa collection.

i.e. archivist gets call that x died and they want to donate the stuff. can you come get it? negotiating with widX. contents come into a box; “poor sucker” processes it.

a world away from OAIS and PAIMAS. many questions should have been asked that never will be answered.

standards in theory are great but pretty unrealistic in reality. curators wouldn’t be able to say what the standards are. they exist but tend to be ignored.

curators model paperwork on traditional (i.e.) physical material. very difficult to make born digital content pllay nice.

[council on library and information resources book.] (

important doc. check it very often.

takeaway: standards exist but they fail to account for all circusmtances possible circumstances

practitioners come up with standards to fill gaps.


transforming materials into an archivable collection. i.e. packing up physical material and putting in archival boxes.

but what do you do with floppys, cds, or zip drives?

can you say you have ownership of the files until you remove them from the media? nope. you don’t have ownership until the media is out.

all media is ephemeral. it will fail. there’s an imminent threat.

if you lose a hard drive then you lose the files.

keeping things in the original order in physical archives; how do you work with those ideals in born digital?


hundreds of 8 inch floppy disks. don’t have the technology. acquisition process; curators didn’t really know to think about whether we would have access to 8 inch floppy drives.

media that we can access is archived as a disk image. filesystem + files. bit for bit copy. HOW EXCITING OMG. files need to be mounted.

depending of image to be imaged we need different hardware; kryoflux lets floppy logic talk to usb.

write blockers: one way flow of information. write blockers allow for an audit trail. this comes from the law enforcement community.

crimes committed by computers need the audit trail. infrastructure had to be built from scratch so that things would be admissible in a court of law; entire industry rose to meet this need. computer forensics.

digital archivists were like yay! we need all this. of course this raises a bunch of moral questions.

arrangment & intellectual control

going from hot mess hoarder shoebox and milk crate to pretty catalogued metadata.

forensic toolkit, ftk. fbi uses it. bitcurator oss version. ftk is powerful; scary.

search for identifiable information like ssn, cc info, dobs. or if donor requests specific redactions (i.e. “don’t include emails b/w me and my dad”)

ftk/bitcurator helps this process

finding aids: dacs & ead

basically, if you ever encounter an archival guide from the oac like the roberti collection.


dacs and ead have some gaps. they are supposedly content neutral. but born digital doesn’t work! dacs and ead are also supposed to hand in glove they often disagree.

lack of guidance for born digital description leads to finding aids that suck since collection descriptions will vary.

i.e. linear feet to hard drive? number of files? gigs? megs? there’s a ton of variation. finding aid: 8 inch audio cassette. audio space cassette. and eight other ways. lots of others. diminishes usability of collections; very difficult to express quantity, quality, usability of stuff.

also, makes a ton of work.

uc guidelines for born-digital descriptions

hurray, a homebrewed standard! on github.

gives a ton of information. in addition to filelist there’s a ton of metadata in numerous (often redundant but in a good way) formats. sisyphian effort.


i hate the term. it’s better to say files are preservation ready. preservation is ongoing in digital. it’s a misnomer. physical is getting paper ready to sit on shelf for 200+ years.

digital has 3 reqs: bit preservation, accessibility, management. fixed, constant data; available, findable data; timeproof data and all of the above since preservation is an active on-going process.


audit and certification to do this in a trustworthy manner. there’s a way to get certified. two orgs in the world have gotten certified; it’s ridiculous. the standard is used as a benchmark but not used really. aspirational not implementable.

OAIS, PAIMAS, & TDR: the trifecta; get stuff, keep stuff safe. OAIS also focuses on putting stuff and showing stuff. PREMIS, NETS, Dublin core: other standards. keep stuff safe (metadata standards).

standards have yet to catch up.


marc & rda standards made to describe books. not appropriate for hierarchical archival collections. but they’re helpful for discovery!

i.e. susan sontag we have her books but also her papers!

the grid is missing the access x’s because archivists worry about that last! i.e. ndsa levels of preservation doesn’t even have a column for access.

shira is working on getting access in the ndsa.

hooray we finished!

tooltip sez: Fortunately, the charging one has been solved now that we’ve all standardized on mini-USB. Or is it micro-USB?


susan sontag: email folders she didn’t use, then researchers see it and freak out.

method for dupes: let the researchers figure it out. we’ll give them all of them.

donors want to organize stuff; sometimes they have to be discouraged (i.e. leaving all versions of drafts). messy desktops are more interesting than sanitized stuff.

conversations with donors; they think things are a mess. exercise; deduction of arrangement of things based on looking at your colleagues laptop. imagine that exercise. how would you describe what you have to a stranger.

be more choosey

famous people get more crap archived. uc value score: 0-25, five different categories. research value, object value, historical value, quality of documentation (+ one more forgotten one). based on that number that will determine the research workflow.


bitcurator user forum will be here in september. come to it if you’re interested in forensic stuff.

miriam has cards; they do hire; contact!

last half hour: storyboarding

cells and panels represent what the camera sees. great way to plan sequene of shots and take stock of the media we’ll need. a great way to frame the story we want to tell as well.

can submit on paper or print on template. now there’s a storyboarding menu item on the class website.

lots of options. ppt is even good. use clip art or even stick figures; no high expectation of artistical ability.

six shots would be short; 5 to 6 minutes is a lot of time to fill. ideally spell out but if you’re collaging you can summarize.

purely visual or with audio? next milestone includes script but this time you have the option to include some audio and what not.

hands on drawing!

pinterest board of images

the power of science will solve the social!

what does this have to do with a 760pp novel?

vo: gravity’s rainbow straddles science and humanity refusing to absolve either.

cut at 50 seconds in i’ve just been blown away

vo: the rand corporation seriously thinks about serious things and the implications of these serious things.

vo: the pynchon connection is not accidental. he worked in yoyodyne after all.

vo: the atrocities and horror of world war II had to be worth something. the modern think tank was formed from this notion of salvaging the technology and methods of a total war.

project research and development or rand in military speak began in 19– at ____. rand’s golden age corresponds with the emergence of systems analysis and its deployment to social science endeavors in the immediate aftermath of world war II and the bbeginning of the cold war.

systems analysis is an analytical approach to complex problems. rather than interacting with thousands of rapidly moving variables the approach instead aproaches problem solving in terms of systems and the interactions between these systems.

give example of systems analysis, sattelites? nuclear war?

the marriage of the hard and soft sciences gave birth to the public policy professional and eventually the pardee rand school of public policy.

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