Title (eng)

Retrocomputing as Preservation: Poster - iPRES 2012 - Digital Curation Institute, iSchool, Toronto


Yuri Takhteyev

Quinn DuPont


Digital Curation Institute, iSchool University of Toronto


This project explores the world of retrocomputing, a constellation of largely—though not exclusively—non-professional practices involving old computing technology. Retrocomputing includes many activities that can be seen as constituting “preservation,” and in particular digital preservation. At the same time, however, it is often transformative, producing assemblages that “remix” fragments from the past with newer elements or joining historic components that were never previously combined. While such “remix” may seem to undermine preservation, it allows for fragments of computing history to be reintegrated into a living, ongoing practice, contributing to preservation in a broader sense. The seemingly unorganized nature of retrocomputing assemblages also provides space for alternative “situated knowledges” and histories of computing, which can be quite sophisticated. Recognizing such alternative epistemologies in turn paves the way for alternative approaches to preservation. The institutional digital preservation community may have a lot to gain from paying closer attention to retrocomputing. This gain, however, should not just involve looking for ways to make use of the knowledge and labor of retrocomputing enthusiasts. Rather, it is important to recognize the value of their projects on their own terms and ask in what ways institutional efforts can support such projects.

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This work is licensed under a
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iPRES, iSchool, Toronto, Canada, retrocomputing, software preservation, remix

Conferences, Conference 2012

Member of the Collection(s) (1)

o:293685 iPRES 2012 - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects: iPRES 2012 - Digital Curation Institute, iSchool, Toronto