From Bitstreams to Heritage: Putting Digital Forensics into Practice in Collecting Institutions



This paper examines the application of digital forensics methods to materials in collecting institutions – particularly libraries, archives and museums. It discusses motivations, challenges, and emerging strategies for the use of these technologies and workflows. It is a product of the BitCurator project. The BitCurator project began on October 1, 2011, through funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. BitCurator is an effort to build, test, and analyze systems and software for incorporating digital forensics methods into the workflows of a variety of collecting institutions. It is led by the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, and involves contributors from several other institutions. Two groups of external partners are contributing to this process: a Professional Expert Panel (PEP) of individuals who are at various levels of implementing digital forensics tools and methods in their collecting institution contexts, and a Development Advisory Group (DAG) of individuals who have significant experience with software development.2 This paper is a product of phase one of BitCurator (October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2013). The second phase of the project (October 1, 2013 – September 29, 2014) continues the development of the BitCurator environment, along with expanded professional engagement and community outreach activities.