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Digital Forensics for Archivists #1365 [SAA Workshop]

  • Thursday, March 21, 2013
  • 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • New England Archivists Spring 2013 Meeting, Worcester, MA

From the Society of American Archivists website-

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 
New England Archivists Spring 2013 Meeting
Worcester, MA

Early-Bird Registration Deadline: February 21, 2013

Co-Sponsor: New England Archivists (NEA) 

Course Description

Are you starting to receive disks as parts of collections or have you discovered disks in boxes of paper records? Caring for the records stored on removable storage media (e.g. floppy disks, hard drives, thumb drives, memory sticks, CDs) requires archivists to extract whatever useful information resides on the medium, while avoiding the accidental alteration of data or metadata.  In this course, you’ll learn how to apply existing digital forensics methods and tools in order to recover, preserve and ultimately provide access to born-digital records. We’ll explore the layers of hardware and software that allow bitstreams on digital media to be read as files, the roles and relationships of these layers and tools and techniques for ensuring the completeness and evidential value of data. We’ll apply digital forensics tools and methods to test data, in order to illustrate how and why they are used.

Upon completion of this course you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the roles and relationships between the main layers of technology required to read a string of bits off of a physical storage medium and treat it as a file
  • Identify various forms of data that may be “hidden” on the physical storage medium
  • Use write blockers and create disk images in order to prevent accidental manipulation of volatile data
  • Identify and extract the data that a file system uses to manage files
  • Apply digital forensics tools and methods to collections of records
  • Identify and compare alternative strategies for providing public access to data from disk images

Who should attend?  This course is intended for any archivists, manuscript curators, librarians or others who are responsible for acquiring or transferring collections of digital materials, particularly those that are received on removable media.

What should you know already? Participants are expected to know basic archival practice and have intermediate knowledge of computers and digital records management.  We strongly recommend that participants complete the Thinking Digital web seminar prior to taking this course.

Course attendees must bring a PC laptop (not a Mac) with them to participate successfully in this course.


When participants were asked “what aspect of the workshop methods/materials was most valuable to you?” responses included:

  • “The technical aspects of appraisal, including ingest, is just what I needed.”–Margaret Welch
  • “The class exercises made me think in a real-world context.  We were challenged throughout in decision-making skills related to archival theories and methods.”
  • “This course was a great introduction to various tools.  I really benefitted from the description of the SIP & AIP process with a correlation to existing tools for accomplishing the work.”
  • “The course manual is comprehensive and provides step-by-step instructions.  It will be a valuable resource as I attempt to work through the arrangement & description (arranging) of electronic records.”
  • “The walk-through of the OAIS components was very helpful; I really got a good sense of how to put together SIPS & AIPS to preserve authenticity & context of records.”
  • “I really enjoyed the information at the end of the booklet; the PowerPoint slides were great too. I’m happy to have these resources on hand!”
  • “So much of the course content applied specifically to my work; I feel like I can go back to work tomorrow and start using this information.”–Jessica Gambling

Attendance is limited to 35.

This course is one of the Tools & Services Courses in the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Curriculum and Certificate Program!  If you intend to pursue the Certificate, you'll need to pass the examination for this course. Please follow Option 1 to access exam information.

This course builds on others in the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) curriculum including Basic Electronic RecordsThinking Digital, Accessioning and Ingest, and Beginner’s Guide to Metadata.

Registration available on the SAA website-


Questions? communications@nycarchivists.org

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