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This presentation will focus on a specific area of research within the Guggenheim’s ongoing initiative to Conserve Computer-based Art (CCBA), exploring the concept of Quality Control (QC) procedures for disk images. Through the CCBA initiative, Guggenheim conservation staff have created disk images from artist-provided computers as an important step in the preservation of complex software-based artworks. In the context of art conservation, preservation elements, such as a disk images, must be evaluated for their ability to reproduce the significant properties of the original artwork (such as speed, color, and other programmed behaviors) in the future. While verification procedures can ensure that a disk image is an exact copy of a piece of physical media, they cannot determine if the image can be used to run the software-based artwork in a virtual machine or emulator, or document the steps necessary to re-run the artwork in these programs. QC procedures are needed to ensure that preservation elements like disk images are capable of recreating an authentic experience of the artwork.
The presentation will cover the Guggenheim’s proposed QC procedures for ensuring that the disk images being created are useful for future preservation purposes, including attempting to run the disk image in an emulator or virtual machine.
In the context of the museum’s participation in the Software Preservation Network’s Fostering a Community of Practice project, the Guggenheim is exploring the relationship between hardware and software metadata and emulation. The presentation will describe how the QC procedure is shaped by the metadata collected about the hardware and software environment of a computer running a software-based artwork, and how the quality of the metadata collected affects the QC process and the future accessibility of the work.
CC-By Attribution 4.0 International