MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2018 Activities by Sponsor - Anne M. Hunter

Preserving long term digital content: strategies, challenges, and solutions

Dr. Sam Fineberg, Principal Architect, Akamai, Co-Chair, SNIA Long Term Retention Working Group

Add to Calendar Jan/18 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM 34-301

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

If digital artifacts are to serve as the basis for cultural and personal memories, it is essential that their lifetimes exceed those of memories in the human mind, and of the physical objects found in museums. Preservation involves timescales that exceed the maximum lifetime of any single storage device or any single storage technology.  If the computer industry continues to ignore these issues, it is likely that much of the content generated over recent years will be lost for future generations.

Cloud storage, when implemented correctly, will help achieve this timelessness, abstracting storage from physical devices and enabling migration to new technologies. However, these systems lack the key metadata needed to preserve meaning of the data into the far future.  For example, an application level hash can be used to ensure that the bits have not changed, and information about data formats can be used to facilitate migration to new formats.  An even bigger issue is to retain the semantic information needed to understand what the metadata means.   


In this session, Dr. Fineberg will present the issues and unique challenges facing long term content, drawing on real world examples as well as the results of the 2017 SNIA archive study.  He will also describe emerging solutions that address these issues, and demonstrate the need for future work and adoption of preservation technology.


Dr. Fineberg is a principal architect at Akamai Technologies.  

Contact: Sam Finebefrg,