Kam Woods: "Preservation, Privacy, and Access: Enhancing Data Curation Workflows with Forensic Analysis"

March 20, 2017 3:30 pm
Manning 01

Join us for a special presentation by Kam Woods on Monday, March 20, at 3:30 p.m. in Manning Hall 01.

Abstract: Preserving born-digital materials, providing access to them, and protecting potentially private and sensitive information they contain are often competing challenges for libraries, archives, and museums. Cyclical issues of physical media and file format obsolescence, production of metadata supporting a clear record of provenance and chain of custody, and the accelerating need for automated analytics of digital collections and the preservation tools used to manage them tends to push institutions towards solutions that favor a subset of these challenges. Digital forensics techniques and tools originally developed to ensure data integrity and security in law enforcement and corporate environments can help manage this balance, particularly by opening new paths to quantify and reduce technical and privacy risks.

In this talk, I discuss several interrelated research efforts focused on digital preservation, collection analysis at scale, and novel adaptations of digital forensics methods to data curation activities. This work centers on the design and development of workflows and software to ensure digital objects held by collecting institutions can be readily accessed and understood by current and future users without loss of integrity and context. I explore some of the unique challenges in making legacy born-digital collections web-accessible, describe the development of a forensics-derived toolset to assist in the analysis and triage of heterogeneous document collections, and discuss the need for realistic corpora that simulate the privacy and security concerns faced in professional contexts.

Bio: Kam Woods is a Research Scientist in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His primary areas of research are long-term digital preservation and digital forensics, with a specific focus on developing methods to ensure accessibility and security for born-digital materials with significant cultural heritage, scientific, and economic value.

At UNC SILS, he has served as Technical Lead on the BitCurator project and as Co-PI and Technical Lead on the BitCurator Access project, developing techniques and software tools to support preservation and forensic analysis activities and improve access to born-digital collections held in libraries, archives, and museums. He is currently Co-PI and Technical Lead for BitCurator NLP, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project to apply scalable natural language processing techniques to analyze and enrich born-digital collections.

He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Indiana University Bloomington, his MS in Computer Science from Baylor University, and his BA with a major in Computer Science from Swarthmore College. You can find publications, presentations, and other professional links at https://kamwoods.net/.