No field of preservation is changing more rapidly than the digital realm. Unlike the more traditional conservation or fine art, much digital art is based on technologies that were invented barely ten years ago and that may become obsolete within half that time. The software needed to retrieve programs becomes obsolete, operating systems are replaced, and storage devices are upgraded with increasing speed. All of these factors conspire to put digital information at great risk.
Conserving a work of a computer-based nature is more complicated than simply preserving digital files. What must be saved for the future is not merely data, but all the nuances of an artist's vision.
Around the world, artists, programmers, archivists, and conservators are working to create strategies for the preservation of this vital art. A number of major initiatives are tackling questions of documentation, authenticity, preserving the artists' intent, and other critical issues. But the preservation of computer-based art is still a young field. Though it draws upon practices and philosophies used by art conservators for decades, digital preservation does not always have clearly defined standards and practices-in part because of the newness of this medium, and in part because of the widely divergent works that fall under the heading "computer-based."
Best practice guidelines for preserving computer-based art and digital media. read more »
Frequently asked questions about digital media and computer-based art preservation. read more »
Information and guidelines about practices for documenting digital media and computer-based art. read more »