Author: Leslie Johnston

Digital Archaeology

I was staring at a blank screen when my colleague David came into my office. I semi-jokingly asked him for a blog topic. “I have one for you,” he replied. “Content Archaeology. Discuss.” And with that he left my office. People know that I trained as an archaeologist and did fieldwork in multiple locations.  I […]

Is There Such A Thing as Digital Preservation?

I am frequently asked about the difference between “traditional” preservation and digital preservation. My honest answer is that there are very few distinguishable differences. Preservation activities are never traditional – there is constant innovation in preservation techniques. Digital preservation is in many ways still developing its tools and techniques, but physical preservation is also evolving. […]

What Is It That We Actually DO?

A ten year-old recently asked what I do for a living. The response mostly involved explaining that the Library of Congress has digital collections and that I lead a team of people that take care of digital things, including writing software. I have often been asked by family, friends and complete strangers to explain what […]

The Twisty Little Passages to a Career in Digital Preservation

I have had two conversation recently — one an intern and one with a friend outside our community — about my career path, and career paths in general around digital preservation. Paraphrasing, well, everyone (who may not know they are quoting the game Colossal Cave Adventure from 1976), it was a maze of twisty little […]

The Darker Side of the Digital Content Life Cycle

In May I was suffering from writer’s block and crowdsourced some topics for blog posts on Facebook.  I got some very funny suggestions, many useful suggestions, and one that was both humorous and serious that kept sticking in my mind from my LC colleague Rosie Storey:  “Digital content death cycle. Hoard, corrupt, abandon, neglect.” This […]

Before You Were Born: We had Online Communities

My first foray into online communities was in the mid- to late-1980s, when the organization I worked for got some of its online services through UCLA.  We got limited access to email and access to the Usenet discussion system. If you’re not familiar with Usenet — which went live in 1980 — surprise! It’s still […]

What are We Going to do About Hardware?

On May 20-21, 2013, the Library of Congress hosted one in its series of small invitational digital content at-risk summits, this one on the topic of software preservation. “Preserving.exe: Toward a National Strategy for Preserving Software” covered a wide range of topics around software preservation, every type of software and interactive media art and engaged multiple […]