BitCurator 1.0 Release!

The BitCurator team is pleased to announce the 1.0 release of the BitCurator environment, now available for download on our release portal or by following the direct links below:

The BitCurator 1.0.0 Virtual Machine – 2.6GB
The BitCurator 1.0.0 Installation ISO – 2.3GB

BitCurator 1.0 is the culmination of three years of work by our team to provide professionals working in collecting institutions with an integrated environment of open source digital forensics tools geared towards their specific needs. The BitCurator team has approached this challenge by developing new software to assist with born-digital media processing, and by curating a collection of mature, reliable third-party software projects and libraries into a single, well documented system.

As with previous releases, 1.0 is distributed as a VirtualBox virtual machine disk image and as a bootable (“Live”) ISO image. The BitCurator virtual machine can be run on any 64-bit operating system capable of running VirtualBox, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.7+, and most modern Linux distributions. If you would prefer to create your own virtual machine, the BitCurator ISO image can be used as an installation source. The BitCurator ISO may also be used to install BitCurator on a dedicated host.

BitCurator is unique among the digital forensics oriented Linux distributions available today, not only because of the focus on the needs of libraries, archives, and museums, but because of the care that has been taken to ensure the functionality, relevance, and completeness of each tool within the environment. Updated information on these tools can always be found in the Tools in the BitCurator Environment section of the BitCurator Environment wiki.

Of particular note: the 1.0 release introduces an improved version of the BitCurator Disk Image Access tool, a GUI interface allowing you to browse the contents (both regular and deleted/unallocated files) of raw and forensically packaged disk images. The updated tool includes stability and performance enhancements when working with FAT, NTFS, and HFS+ volumes, including better handling of multi-volume disk images and real-time feedback on file export actions.

Our Quickstart guide to help you get started working with the environment can be found on the wiki, in the Documentation folder on the BitCurator environment desktop, or by following this direct link. As with previous releases, the BitCurator environment is built using a customized version of Ubuntu 14.04 (64-bit). For best performance, we recommend a host machine with an Intel Core i5 (or equivalent) and at least 8GB of RAM.

Many of you have been following our progress on the user forum for a couple of years now. In just the past 12 months, we have had 30 official releases, introduced three new GUI-based tools, and conducted dozens of training workshops both in the US and internationally. We’re committed to ensuring the ongoing development of BitCurator to meet the needs of the community. To this end, we’ve created the BitCurator Consortium (BCC), an independent, community-led membership association that will serve as the administrative, development, and community support center for the BitCurator environment.

Details on how to join can be found on our BitCurator Consortium Membership page. Institutional membership costs are modest; membership confers voting rights, prioritizes enhancement requests, and offers discounts to future BCC events. Charter memberships are available through December 2014, and general membership enrollment is open.

BitCurator Users Gathering @ Archives*Records – August 12, 2014

Please join us for a gathering of BitCurator users on the evening of August 12th after the SAA Research Forum from 5:30PM to 7:30PM. Come meet other BitCurator users and share your experiences working with digital forensics and BitCurator. In addition to collaborating with other BitCurator users, meet with BitCurator Co-PI’s Cal Lee and Matt Kirschenbaum, and BitCurator Community Lead Porter Olsen. We will discuss the project thus far, recent developments, and BitCurator going forward. Appetizers will be provided, so please come and join us! Email Porter at polsen (at) umd dot edu if you have any questions.

Who: BitCurator users and prospective users

When: The evening of August 12, 2014 from 5:30PM to 7:30PM

Where: The second floor of the Black Squirrel gastropub located at 2427 18th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20009, a fifteen minute walk from the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel where the SAA Annual Conference is being held.

To join us, please fill out the brief form below. We will email attendees with gathering details as we get closer to the event date.

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BitCurator Consortium — Membership Now Open

The BitCurator Consortium (BCC) is an independent, community-led membership association that will serve as the host and center of administrative, user and community support for the BitCurator environment.  Its purpose is to support curation of born-digital materials through the application of open-source digital forensics tools by institutions responsible for such materials.

The BitCurator project (2011-2014), funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has developed, packaged and documented open-source digital forensics tools to allow libraries, archives and museums (LAMs) to extract digital materials from removable media in ways that reflect the metadata and ensure the integrity of the materials, allowing users to make sense of materials and understand their context, and preventing inadvertent disclosure of sensitive data.  The BitCurator project has also engaged with interested professionals, through conferences, specialized events, online interactions, and site visits.  Together, these tools and relationships provide a strong foundation upon which the BitCurator Consortium now builds.

The Software

The BitCurator software is freely distributed under an open source license.  It can be installed as a Linux environment; run as a virtual machine on top of most contemporary operating systems; or run as individual software tools, packages, support scripts, and documentation.

Tools in the BitCurator environment – both those produced by the project team and those from third-party developers – can advance core curation activities, including (but not limited to):

  • Reduce the risk of inadvertent changes to content through software-based write-blocking
  • Create authentic copies of content through disk imaging and cryptographic hashing
  • Mount forensically packaged disk images to view and export their content
  • Reflect original order of materials through capture of filesystem metadata
  • Establish trustworthy chains of custody through documentation of curatorial actions (log files, PREMIS records)
  • Generate reports that characterize the contents of disks and directories
  • Identify and document duplicate files
  • Discover and expose associated contextual information
  • Identify sensitive information that should be filtered, redacted or masked in appropriate ways
  • Export contents of disks and directories for inclusion in Archival Information Packages and Dissemination Information Packages

Consortium Membership

Institutions responsible for the curation of born-digital materials – especially those held or acquired on digital storage media – are invited to participate in the BitCurator Consortium. Membership is open to institutions in all sectors and all nations.  The BCC envisions a robust network of institutions committed to enhancing, promoting, and exploring this growing area of activity.

There are two categories of BCC membership: Charter and General. Charter Members will play an early, active role in the shaping of the BitCurator Consortium’s governance, ongoing development, and overall sustainability.  Charter Membership is a one-time membership option, available only through December 31, 2014.

The most important member benefit is assurance that the BitCurator software will persist and evolve in future years. Other membership benefits include:

General Members:

  • Access to a BCC help desk
  • Prioritization in future enhancement requests
  • Dedicated educational offerings
  • Voting rights
  • Eligibility to serve on the BCC Executive Council and Committees
  • Service opportunities
  • Community engagement and networking
  • Professional development and training
  • Subscription to a dedicated BCC member mailing list
  • Special rates for BCC events, including the annual BitCurator User Forum

Charter Members – all General Member benefits and:

  • Opportunity to participate in and shape the initial BitCurator Consortium Executive Council and BitCurator Consortium Committees, including exclusive eligibility for election or appointment to the Executive Council during the charter period
  • Participation in the development of the initial BitCurator Consortium user, technical and service roadmaps.
  • Recognition through the placement of your institution name, logo and link on the BitCurator Consortium web site.
  • Use of the “BitCurator Consortium Charter Member” icon

During the Charter period (June-December 2014), members can take advantage of the following rates (subject to potential changes in the future):

Dues for Charter Members in the first year are $5000 (US).  After the first year of membership, dues will be the same as those of General Members.

General Member dues are $2000 (US) per institution per year, for a three-year period with annual billing opportunities.  Members can pay in full for their three-year period during their first six months of membership to lock in the above rates.

– If you’re interested in joining the BitCurator Consortium, contact Cal Lee – callee {at} ils [dot] unc {dot} edu

– For information about the BitCurator Consortium, visit: https://bitcurator.net/bitcurator-consortium/

– For information about the BitCurator software and user community, visit: bitcurator.net

The BCC is administered by the Educopia Institute, a non-profit that advances cultural, scientific, and scholarly institutions by catalyzing networks and collaborative communities.

BitCurator Version 0.8.4 Now Available

Hello everyone,
The latest release of the BitCurator environment (0.8.4) is now available on our release portal. Direct links and MD5 checksums can be found on the wiki, or you can follow the links below:

The BitCurator Virtual Machine – 2.5GB
The BitCurator Installation ISO – 2.2GB

This release includes a range of stability updates and bug fixes. Items of note:

– Floppy disk drive access restored. This had become disabled in the previous release due to a system update to the Ubuntu core.
– Installation bug preventing complete installation on laptops with certain types of webcams fixed.
– File system output in Excel format now includes file format identification field.
– BitCurator configuration file (in /etc/bitcurator/bc_report_config.txt) and supporting software module updated to simplify tuning of report file output. Additional documentation to follow on the wiki.

– VirtualBox additions updated to 4.3.10. Our updated Quickstart guide can be found on the release portal, or in the Documentation folder on the BitCurator environment desktop.

As with previous releases, this environment is built on a 64-bit version of Ubuntu and may be unstable on certain 32-bit host operating systems, or host hardware with less than 4GB of RAM. Please don’t hesitate to post here if you have questions!

BitCurator Webinar Series: Announcing a Second Session on Digital Forensics Metadata

Due to the interest in this topic, we have added a second session of this webinar to be held on Thursday, April 17th at 11:00am Eastern Time.

Join us for BitCurator’s monthly webinar series on applying digital forensics tools and methods to the preservation of born-digital materials in collecting institutions. The webinar will be held on Thursday, April 17th at 11:00am Eastern Time. You can register for the webinar at https://bitcurator-metadata-s2.eventbrite.com.

This month’s webinar will focus on BitCurator and metadata output, including the following topics:

  • Metadata produced by the image capture process
  • File system metadata
  • An overview of DFXML and export capabilities
  • PREMIS event system metadata
  • How BitCurator-generated metadata fits into your archival workflow

There are no prerequisites for this webinar; however, it is designed for users already familiar with the basic operations of the BitCurator environment. The webinar will be roughly one hour with 10 minutes for Q&A at the end.