The Preservation of Digital Heritage: Epistemological and Legal Reflections
Journal for Communication Studies, Vol. 5, No. 10, 2012
14 Pages Posted: 25 Dec 2012 Last revised: 28 Sep 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2012
Different disciplines and fields of study seem to be heralding the rise of an interdisciplinary scientific and intellectual movement focused on digital heritage, operationally defined as the ensemble of documents and information created in digital formats and subjected to preservation policies developed by individuals, companies and institutions. This article seeks to address some of the methodological challenges that – notwithstanding a diverse, thriving body of work that is currently contributing to the establishment of the scholarship on digital heritage – are currently facing scholarly attempts to consider digital heritage in its plurality. At the present, exploratory stage of the digital heritage scientific/intellectual movement, contributions to a reflection on the very foundations of this movement are needed, so as to refine the possible approaches of future digital heritage-related studies. This article is meant to provide such a contribution, drawing on the authors’ experience with interdisciplinary approaches to subjects of study such as alternative, decentralized infrastructures for Internet services, or the techno-legal governance of data, the commons and the public domain. The article reflects on practical tools, and epistemological/theoretical foundations, allowing to define and to include in the analysis all the facets of digital heritage – its archives, traces and instruments.
Keywords: preservation, epistemology, copyright, infrastructure, typology
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