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Graduate Supports Digital Preservation & Access at Getty Research Institute

Friday, Oct 13, 2017

Jacob Zaborowski (MIAP '17) is a full-time graduate intern focusing on Digital Content Management at the Getty Research Institute in 2017-18. Photo Credit: Christine Nguyen/Getty Research Institute

Jacob Zaborowski, a 2017 graduate of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) Program in NYU's Department of Cinema Studies, joined the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in September 2017 as a full-time Graduate Intern in the area of Digital Content Management. The GRI is one five organizations under the umbrella of the J. Paul Getty Trust; it is "dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts and their various histories through its expertise, active collecting program, public programs, institutional collaborations, exhibitions, publications, digital services, and residential scholars programs.” 

Zaborowski is pursuing his Digital Content Management work in cooperation with the Information Systems and Special Collections Cataloging departments at the GRI. His duties will include making the GRI’s digital collections accessible to researchers and scholars, identifying and helping to reformat at-risk born-digital materials in the GRI’s holdings, and evaluating the Institute's current digital preservation workflows and policies.

Zaborowski presenting his MA thesis, "Save Homestar Runner!: Preserving Flash on the Web" (April 5, 2017).

Zaborowski’s MIAP thesis, “Save Homestar Runner!: Preserving Flash on the Web,” explored the myriad challenges in web preservation. In his thesis, he wrote that “there can be no one size fits all approach to web preservation, but rather one that is multifaceted, that takes into consideration the web as the complex and constantly evolving entity that it is.”

Zaborowski sees his work at the GRI in a similar light. “Our digital cultural heritage is all-too-ephemeral, and therefore all-too-at-risk of loss on a massive scale. So a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be applied on a large scale as with a traditional print-and-paper collection. Nevertheless, the approach taken must still consider the long term.”

Zaborowski working at NYU Libraries during his spring 2016 MIAP internship, sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded grant project, "Archiving Composers' Websites."

MIAP courses in Digital Literacy, Digital Preservation, and a Mellon Foundation-funded internship at NYU Libraries were most useful to Zaborowski in understanding how institutions are addressing the need for long-term digital preservation. “Those classes and internship provided a bedrock for my thesis work that I have been able to carry into my day-to-day work and research at the Getty. In addition, the online and print resources that my professors and advisors pointed me to throughout my time in MIAP are ones that I continue to reference.”