Draft Version 1.77 – 5/8/13       see changes to syllabus at

Spring 2013 - Wednesdays, 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm, MIAP Lab, 665 Broadway.


Instructor: Howard Besser


GOALS:  This seminar will increase students’ knowledge of primary issues and emerging strategies for the preservation of new media and complex digital works. Students will gain practical skills with identification and risk assessment for works as a whole and their component parts, particularly in the areas of audio and visual media and digital, interactive media projects that are stored on fixed media, presented as installations, and/or existing on networks. Examples of production modes/works to be studied are animations (individual works and motion graphics) web sites, games, interactive multimedia (i.e., educational/artist CDROMs), and technology-dependent art installations. Students will test principles and practices of traditional collection management with these works, and evaluate tools and methodologies used by others.  Wheras the previous course (Digital Preservation) focuses primarily on the kind of approach that organizations (typically libraries or archives) use to preserve large batches of digital works at a time, this course instead focuses primarily on boutique approaches, where significant time is spent preserving each individual digital work (the approach taken mainly by art  museums).


EXPECTATIONS: Each student will complete two assignments, one individually and one where they are responsible for very specific sections of a larger group project. Attendance at all classes is expected; more than one unexcused absence will affect grading. Grades will be based on a combination of class preparedness and participation (40%) and assignments (60%).




Please note that all written work must utilize proper citations, including proper web citations. Works that do not include complete citations will be returned for revision and considered late. Please carefully read the Plagiarism Advisory at the end of the syllabus.


MIAP Digital Archive:  In addition to submitting assignments in print form, all course papers/projects will be submitted in electronic form via Blackboard in the Discussion area. The materials will be made part of the MIAP digital archive in a private space for faculty use, and on the MIAP web site, unless you request the work be restricted. If Word documents, please save as a .rtf.


Standard file naming convention:  13s_1805_smith_a1.rtf

Restricted file naming convention: 13s_1805_smith_a1_x.rtf


                 13s = spring 2013

                 1805 = class number

                 smith = author's last name

                 a1 = assignment number 1

                 x = restricted work designation





This course will have a presence on “NYU Classes”– Please log-on to look there for articles that are not available on the open web (under “Readings”).


Access to Labs: Please see for locations and descriptions of NYU’s computer labs if needed for your research. In addition, by appointment, the MIAP ‘Old Media Lab’ may be used.


Cell phones: Turn completely off during class as they may create problems with classroom audio.



Class 1:  January 30--Introduction      



Class 2:  February 6--Risk Assessment and related general issues

Due this class:



Class 3:  February 13--Projects from the Art Museum World

Due this class:

Class 4:  February 20--Computing, Animation and related Graphics Issues

meet in Dead Media Lab today, 721 Broadway
Due this class:



Class 5:  February 27--Digital Forensics

Class 6:  March 6—visit to MoMA

Class 7:  March 13—

Digital Forensics--Bit Curator exercises

Games—Sophisticated approaches to archiving/preservation

Due this class:

Familiarize yourself with:

News articles:


  • Advanced discussion on Games


NO CLASS March 20–-Semester break

Class 8:  March 27--CAD Issues, Emulation Issues

Due this class:

You should read ahead, as you will have both readings and your project due the following week

Smith, MacKenzie. 2009.  "Curating Architectural 3D CAD Models", International Journal of Digital Curation 1:4 (

Read the following on Emulation Issues:



  Class 9:  April 3--Museum & Archives' Approaches to Handling Complex Media Works of Art, part 2
Due this class:

Class 10:  April 10-- Museum Approaches to Handling Complex Media Works of Art, part 3

Due this class:


April 17--Work session on Archivists' Toolkit at Bobst Library (conducted by Janet Bunde and Nancy Cricco of University Archives)

Class 11:  April 24--CANCELLED (
Guest Instructor Walter Forsberg—further work on BitCurator & Digital Forensics)

Class 12:  May 1-- Digital Forensics Privacy Issues, FIAF Congress, EVE Online Report

Due this class:


Class 13:  May 8-- Final Project run-through and Course Summary

Due this class:

Š       Report on EVE Online.

Due this class:


  • EVE Online
  • Digital Forensics with retired professor's disk
  • FIAF discussion & photos
  • AEO Light discussion
  • Databrary meeting and update


Plagiarism Advisory – Read carefully

NYU Plagiarism Advisory: Plagiarism and other violations of published NYU policies are serious offenses and will be punished severely. Plagiarism includes:

These are punishable offenses whether intended or unintended.


You are encouraged, of course, to read widely and to discuss research with others; but if you use ideas that come from others, you must acknowledge them in writing.  When in doubt, acknowledge.  Other offenses against academic integrity at NYU include:


If you have any questions about how to cite sources, about what constitutes appropriate use of a text, or about other matters of academic integrity, discuss them with your instructor.


The Writing Workshop at NYU offers "A Statement on Plagiarism," and NYU's "Statement on Academic Integrity" (from which the above text is taken).


A compendium of practical information about plagiarism is Sharon Stoeger, "Plagiarism" (2006)  Among the resources she offers are Northwestern University's "How to Avoid Plagiarism" (2007), and Indiana University's tutorial "How to Recognize Plagiarism" (2005)


And here is the policy written by the Tisch School of the Arts, found in its Policies and Procedures Handbook, 2008-2009, pages 43-44, Plagiarism

Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as though it were your own. More specifically, plagiarism is to present as your own:


When you take notes, summarize, rather than paraphrase. If you quote anything, use quotation marks in your notes and take down the page number of the quotation to use in your footnote. All electronic sources of information must be properly cited. Students are expected, often required, to build their own work on that of other people, just as professional researchers and writers do. Giving credit to someone whose work has helped one is courteous and honest. Plagiarism, on the other hand, is a form of fraud. Proper acknowledgment and correct citation constitute the difference. To publish plagiarized work is against the law. People in the professions and in business who pass off other people's work as their own are liable to be discredited and ostracized. University students guilty of plagiarism are subject to disciplinary action ranging from failure in the course for which plagiarized work was submitted to expulsion from the University. It is crucial that acknowledgment of sources be accurate and complete. To avoid unintentional plagiarism:


Plagiarism is a breach of academic honesty and integrity; it is considered among the most serious of offenses. When an instructor suspects plagiarism, s/he has several options. In most cases, the instructor will require the student to totally redo the assignment. The instructor may also consult the chair of the department regarding disciplinary action and assign a grade of F for the work or, if the work is the main basis of the grade for the course, a grade of F for the course. All cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Repeat cases of plagiarism may result in dismissal from school.