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Organization of Long-term Interstellar Distributed Digital Preservation Networks. Martin Halbert, Ph.D., MLIS UNT Dean of Libraries and Information Science Associate Professor 100YSS Symposium Saturday, October 1, 2011 Orlando, FL. Key Points.

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Organization of long term interstellar distributed digital preservation networks

Organization of Long-term Interstellar Distributed Digital Preservation Networks

Martin Halbert, Ph.D., MLIS

UNT Dean of Libraries and Information Science Associate Professor

100YSS Symposium

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Orlando, FL

Key points
Key Points

  • Data will likely be a core product of interstellar missions

  • Technology for transmission of information over interstellar distances relatively well understood (Project Cyclops, etc.)

  • Long term (centuries) management of large growing public bodies of information is both more and less understood:

    • More: Example of preservation of print works over centuries in libraries and archives

    • Less: Digital works have existed for much shorter times, little experience with long term preservation of digital data sets

  • What can we learn from current efforts to develop long term strategies for digital preservation?

Historical lessons concerning long term survival of information
Historical Lessons Concerning Long Term Survival of Information

  • While some unique information artifacts survive in vaults, most information that survives over centuries has survived via institutionalized transcription and curation in geographically distributed locations

  • Cultural memory organizations such as libraries, archives, historical societies, etc. have explicit commitments in their missions to indefinite preservation of information for benefit of future generations

  • Preservation of shared cultural memory is understood to be a responsibility shared by many separate cooperating institutions

Long term preservation of digital information
Long Term Preservation of Digital Information

  • An emerging field, driven by practical needs to preserve ephemeral datasets for future use

  • Datasets have only been in existence for a few decades, so tentative findings concerning long term strategies for preservation are only beginning to appear now

  • Applications to interstellar mission data preservation will require active study in coming years

  • Some relevant conclusions have already been reached by the digital preservation community, however

National scale cooperative digital preservation efforts today
National Scale Cooperative Digital Preservation Efforts Today

  • National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Program (NDIIPP) and National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) are primary efforts in USA

  • Undertook approx. $100M in digital preservation programs & experiments over last decade (2000-2010)

  • Comprised of hundreds of projects and organizations engaged in digitization or acquisition and management of digital content on a long term basis

Findings from representative ndiipp ndsa digital preservation programs
Findings from representative NDIIPP/NDSA Digital Preservation Programs

  • Simple backups or one-location repositories are insufficient for long-term data survival

  • Digital preservation is a long-term systematic program

  • Digital preservation is best accomplished through collaborative replication strategies involving multiple institutions located in distributed locations

B est practices for distributed digital preservation networks ddpns
B Preservation Programsest practices for distributed digital preservation networks (DDPNs)

  • Content should be replicated in six or more dispersed locations

  • All copies should be subject to validation using integrity checks

  • Any data compromised accidentally or intentionally at a single site should be repaired from other sites that hold validated copies of the content

  • No site should be privileged in the network; any site should be able to drop out and be replaced over time without compromising the network

  • Pre-coordinated security protocols should be put in place before new sites come on line

  • The purpose of DDPNs should be understood as secure preservation of data (rather than access to data)

  • All participating sites/nodes should have missions that are explicitly compatible with the overall aims of the network to preserve information indefinitely for future generations

Organization of long term interstellar distributed digital preservation networks

Remote Data Preservation Programs

Replication Nodes

Interstellar Mission Data Replication

Mission Data Transmissions

Starship at destination


Terrestrial Data

Replication Sites

Organization of long term interstellar distributed digital preservation networks

Long-Term Interstellar Mission Preservation ProgramsData Replication among star systems

Organization of long term interstellar distributed digital preservation networks

Over time, replication Preservation Programs

sites will come to resemble and function as cultural memory institutions

Some suggestions for 100yss
Some Suggestions for 100YSS Preservation Programs

  • Consider establishing organizational alliances of institutions that commit to long-term preservation of mission data in geographically dispersed locations across the Earth

  • Such alliances should incorporate DDPN best practices

  • DDPN alliances created for long-term preservation of interstellar mission data should be established with diversified institutional characteristics, technical infrastructures, and revenue streams

  • As additional interstellar expeditions are undertaken to different stars, or as such missions gain the capability to self-replicate, remote interstellar vehicles will likely become DDPN nodes

  • Over time an extended network encompassing nodes spread across many light-years might grow, ensuring the survivability of vast accumulations of data

Questions and answers
Questions and Answers Preservation Programs

“Let us save what remains: not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident.”

― Thomas Jefferson

Sources cited
Sources Cited Preservation Programs

1. “Project Cyclops: A Design Study of a System for Detecting Extraterrestrial Life”, NASA Technical Report CR-114445, Stanford/NASA/Ames Research Center, 1971.

2. H.W. Jones, “Optimum Signal Modulation for Interstellar Communication”, Progress in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, ASP Conference Series, 74, pp. 369-378, 1995.

3. B.G. Boone, R.S. Bokulic, G.B. Andrews, R.L. McNutt, Jr., and N. Dagalakis, “Optical and Microwave Communications System Conceptual Design for a Realistic Interstellar Explorer,” 2nd Free-Space Laser Communication and Laser Imaging Conference, SPIE, pp. 225-236, 2002.

4. D.M. Smith, “The Cost of Lost Data,” Graziadio Business Review, 6:3, 2003.

5. Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems, “Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System”, ISO Standard 14721, 2002.

6. R.N. Bracewell, “Communications from Superior Galactic Communities”, Nature, 186, pp. 670-671, 1960.

7. R.A. Freitas, “A Self-Reproducing Interstellar Probe”, JBIS, 33, pp. 251-264, 1980.

8. W.G. LeFurgy, “Building Preservation Partnerships: The Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program”, Library Trends, 54:1, pp. 163-172, 2005.

9. K.E. Skinner, and M.D. Halbert, “The MetaArchive Cooperative: A Collaborative Approach to Distributed Digital Preservation”, Library Trends, 57:3, pp. 371-392, 2009.

10. K.E. Skinner, and M. Schultz (eds), “A Guide to Distributed Digital Preservation”, Atlanta, GA: Educopia Institute, 2010.

11. D. Minor, M. Phillips, and M. Schultz, "Chronopolis and the MetaArchive Cooperative: Preservation Cooperation", iPRES 2010: the Seventh International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects Conference Proceedings, pp. 249-254, 2010.