Enduring Access to Rich Media Content: Understanding Use and Usability Requirements | D-Lib

Through an NEH-funded initiative, Cornell University Library is creating a technical, curatorial, and managerial framework for preserving access to complex born-digital new media objects. The Library's Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art provides the testbed for this project. This collection of complex interactive born-digital artworks are used by students, faculty, and artists from various disciplines. Interactive digital assets are far more complex to preserve and manage than single uniform digital media files. The preservation model developed will apply not merely to new media artworks, but to other rich digital media environments. This article describes the project's findings and discoveries, focusing on a user survey conducted with the aim of creating user profiles and use cases for born-digital assets like those in the testbed collection. The project's ultimate goal is to create a preservation and access practice grounded in thorough and practical understanding of the characteristics of digital objects and their access requirements, seen from the perspectives of collection curators and users alike. We discuss how the survey findings informed the development of an artist questionnaire to support creation of user-centric and cost-efficient preservation strategies. Although this project focuses on new media art, our methodologies and findings will inform other kinds of complex born-digital collections.