2013 Digital Forensics Hackathon - Tackling Real-World Collection Challenges with Digital Forensic Tools and Methods

July 5, 2013

Digital preservation professionals from the United States and Europe gathered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina from June 3 to June 5 for the 2013 a hackathon called ”Tackling Real-World Collection Challenges with Digital Forensics Tools and Methods.”  The event was hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS), and co-sponsored by the Open Planets Foundation (OPF), Library of Congress, and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA). Among those attending were librarians, archivists, software developers and researchers. 

The art of capturing, understanding and preserving digital collections is essential today. The world of digital forensics offers many useful and practical techniques for capturing, understanding and preserving digital collections. This hackathon allowed participants to learn about digital forensics by getting hands-on with data, tools and new techniques.

There were two types of participants: collection owners and developers. The collection owners brought digital data from their institutions’ collections that they wanted to assess, analyze and preserve. The developers worked on solutions to the collection owners’ challenges.  As part of a team, and with support from experts, they applied forensics tools to solve digital preservation challenges.

Dr. Cal Lee, Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor at SILS said, “We are very excited to be hosting this hackathon that allows practitioners and developers to combine their skills and needs to come up with practical solutions in just a few days of intensive interaction.”

Participants gained significant experience and guidance in the use of the BitCurator environment,  which is a set of open-source tools packaged specifically for use by librarians and archivists. The BitCurator project, led by UNC SILS and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This was the first OPF hackathon to take place in the United States.

Photo by Edgar Marston.