This (and similar tools under development) could be landscape changers for librarians, archivists, and others involved in digital preservation and access.
The PBS Newshour has published a print article about the development of a new “search engine” named Brown Dog that aims to make data in old/obsolete file formats accessible within just a couple of clicks. It’s called Data Access Proxy.
Brown Dog is designed to convert defunct computer files into accessible formats, preserving information in those files for generations to come. This means that one may no longer need a patchwork of computer applications to use scientific datasets, read old thesis papers or access family videos uploaded onto the Internet.
Brown Dog is under development at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the same place where Marc Andreessen developed the Mosaic web browser….
Another part of Brown Dog (Data Tilling Service) will work to analyze data, assign metadata, and make the content viewable online. (Here’s one way it could be used as described by the developers in a use case.)
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