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Tools for Understanding Digital Files: Home

Guide to resources and archival concepts discussed during IAPril presentation by Kari Smith, Digital Archivist, MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections. 27 April 2012.

About the IAPril Presentation

On April 27, 2012 Kari Smith, Digital Archivist, from the MIT Institute Archives gave the presentation,
"Is it what it is? Tools for Understanding your Digital Files."

During this session Smith exposed the audience to a variety of software tools that are being used in the Institute Archives for understanding digital files that are being added to the Archival collections.  These software tools aid with the process of long-term access of digital material by allowing us to know what the digital files are when we receive them, detect any changes over time, and how to make them available in the future.

She briefly discussed how these tools fit into work flows for digital content being developed for use in the Institute Archives and Special Collections department of the MIT Libraries.

Categories of tools that were reviewed include:  file format characterization, fixity, packaging, metadata extraction, conversion / normalization, disk imaging, and metadata embedding.

Archives Concepts

Recommended Reading:  "The Archivist's Perspective: Knowledge and Values," Chapter 3 from Understanding Archives & Manuscripts, James M. O'Toole & Richard J. Cox, 2006. 

Available for course reading at:

Tools Demonstrated or Discussed

Interim Head of Public Serivces, Distinctive Collections