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Van Allen Explorer Tapes in DPN

Van Allen Explorer Tapes Prior to Recovery (MacLean Hall 3/25/2010)
Van Allen Explorer Tapes Prior to Recovery (MacLean Hall 3/25/2010)

In May of this year, the University of Iowa Libraries became the first institution to deposit material into the Digital Preservation Network. You can read more about this on the DPN website or listen to an interview with about the process of adding this collection to DPN. As a member of DPN, the Libraries can deposit 5TB of data per year, and DPN guarantees that this data will be preserved for 20 years. The Libraries chose the Explorer I audio tapes from the James Van Allen Collection as its initial deposit for a variety of reasons:

  1. The expense of reformatting these items – If any of the digital files were lost, it would be too costly to reformat them again.
  2. The inability to reformat them with equipment in the library
  3. The poor condition of some of the originals
  4. The location of the original audio reels – they are no longer located on site making it harder to reformat them again
  5. The rarity of the items
  6. The research value of the collection

So far 500GB (300 audio reels) of Explorer I have been uploaded into DPN. Another 400 reels will be added in the near future. The deposit of this material marks the end of a long process of discovering and digitizing the original reel to reel audio tapes. Read more about the Van Allen Collection here:

The Digital Preservation Network (DPN) is the only large-scale digital preservation service that is built to last beyond the life spans of individuals, technological systems, and organizations. DPN provides members of the academy and their successors with assurance that future access to their scholarly resources will be available in the event of disruptive change in administrative or physical institutional environments. By establishing a redundant and varied technical and legal infrastructure the survival, ownership and management of preserved digital content in the future is assured for DPN members.