Bitcurator: Forensics for Collecting Institutions (Part 1 of 2)

Part one of two guest posts by Kari R. Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries, Institute Archives and Special Collections. Cross-posted from the Engineering the Future of the Past blog (CC BY-SA 3.0).

We’ve been busy the past few months.  Take the blog silence for the quiet of busy beavers rather than the absence of activity!

Photo of BitCurator Project Sticker
BitCurator Project Sticker

As noted in the workflow diagrams, one of the tools that we are assessing both in terms of functionality and how it might fit into our workflows is BitCurator.  The BitCurator Team has lot of information on their project and release portal pages that you should read to keep current on this Mellon funded project.

Photo of the BitCurator in a Box. Includes two write-blockers, cables and cords, and BitCurator program on a USB drive
Photo of the BitCurator in a Box. Includes two write-blockers, cables and cords, and BitCurator program on a USB drive

The BitCurator Project is an open-source digital forensics environment in which collecting institutions can create and analyze forensic disk images of digital content, whether from a file server or from media.  Read this page on the BitCurator website for more specifics on the projects and the tools incorporated into the environment.

We’ve been testing versions of the BitCurator tools since version 3.0.  Happily, the project and team have been doing great work with adding tools, functionality, GUI, and reporting capabilities.  BitCurator 0.7.4 was released on February 2, 2014 and is the current version we are assessing.

As an activity of the Digital Sustainability Lab in the Libraries, there is input into the assessment from both the Institute Archives and Special Collections staff and from the Digital Curation and Preservation staff in the MIT Libraries.

The BitCurator team is fantastic and are very responsive to feedback and questions regarding how to use and implement BitCurator in your digital curation workflow.  For instance, at the recent DigCCurr Institute, CurateGear presentations it came up that there was a BitCurator in a Box that can be borrowed for formal assessment purposes.  We asked and after the most current release at that time we were mailed the box.  Along with a formal testing plan and required questions/ answers to return to the BitCurator Team, was a jumpdrive with the BitCurator install files and two write-blockers with accompanying cables and cords. It is all packed into a Pelican case for shock absorption and a cool factor.

The next blog post on this topic will frame our assessment and the issues and considerations that we are addressing.

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