Last week, the members of our graduate seminar focusing on digital humanities were happy to hear from Dr. Amy Earhart of Texas A&M University. She presented us with an interesting discussion of how she has dealt with issues of digital preservation. She showed that while the internet opens up more space for the proliferation of the works of underappreciated and unknown authors, without serious consideration of how digital resources can be preserved, these texts can be re-relegated to the realm of 404 perdition.
As I embark on a personal project, I am wondering what is the best way to preserve my work. My plan is to use GIS technology to map references made to different locations in the 1991 novel Mala onda by the Chilean author Alberto Fuguet. The work provides a rich source of geo-locations, but rarely explains the socio-historic significance of these places. I want to create a map that would both visually represent the connections between text and geography and provide more information about the specific places.
(A very early iteration of what the project will look like using the online version of ARCGIS can be seen here.)
I have two questions I am wondering about as I begin this project:
- What is the best way to save information from web sites in case they no longer exist in the future?
- What are the realities of a long-term preservation of this project?
Currently, I am using Zotero to capture web pages with information I find important and that I worry could be lost in the future (like this site listing personal and government accounts of what happened to victims during the 1973 military coupe in Chile). Is there are better way to preserve this information?
Also, this project is driven by my own personal and professional interests. I am solely responsible for the creation and maintenance of the page. As we build projects like this, what is the feasibility that they’ll continue to exist long-term? Without being attached to any established, funded research group, is my work, or others like it, irredeemably doomed to be lost?