We are an NPR librarian and a digital preservationist who love saving old tech – ask us anything!
I am Janel Kinlaw, a librarian at NPR, and I’ll be answering your questions about preserving old technology with Trevor Muñoz, an associate director at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.
It’s a brave new world as many collections move from being majority physical to digital -- and it raises questions for family historians and biographers/archivists alike.
Where before older generations might have left behind physical letters, photographs and journals, much of that is expressed digitally now. And although it’s digitized, the hardware will certainly become antiquated; even if something is left in the cloud, we might not be able to access it.
So will we save and treasure our parents' hard drives like we did our grandparents' letters? Will we continue to copy our VHS home movies to DVDs and so on? And if we want to hold on to those things, what’s the best approach?
We can answer all your practical and philosophical questions about maintaining a digital archive. Ask away!
Janel Kinlaw is a librarian at NPR where she has catalogued thousands of NPR stories, answered reference questions, and led a successful project to launch a new search and editing interface for NPR's programming archives.
Trevor Muñoz is the assistant dean for Digital Humanities Research at the University of Maryland Libraries and an associate director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH). At Maryland, he works with scholars, archivists, and technologists to preserve collections of born-digital material such as old computer files, software programs, and web pages.