Happy World Digital Preservation Day!

Blog post

Rafaël Rozendaal, Fill This Up, 2014

Every year, the first Thursday of November is dedicated to the importance of digital preservation around the globe and is celebrated among creators, consumers, curators and institutions alike. This year's theme is Data For All, For Good, Forever.

From the very start, LIMA has considered the securing of digital agencies indispensable to the fields of media art and technology. It is, after all, a key ingredient in what we do in offering preservation services, sharing knowledge on the sustainability of digital art, and supporting artists, museums, producers and collections worldwide with a digital repository.

Below you will find news and updates on LIMA’s ongoing and upcoming digital preservation activities!

Collaborative Infrastructure Project

Jeroen Jongeneel, Running A Circle Clockwise, 2017

Last year on the day of the World Digital Preservation Day, LIMA announced the start of a new project: the Collaborative infrastructure for sustainable access to digital art. Initiated by LIMA, this three year project has two clear and urgent goals: to prevent the loss of digital artworks and to commonly develop the knowledge to preserve these works in a sustainable way.

Grounded in case study based analysis, the research initially focused on net art works. In 2022 Compressed Forests, 2016, by Jan Robert Leegte, (collection Utrecht Centraal Museum and Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands), Fill this up, 2014, by Rafaël Rozendaal (collection KRC) and Running A Circle Clockwise, 2017, by Jeroen Jongeneel (netart collection Boijmans van Beuningen, video's collection Kröller-Müller Museum) are being investigated. The research and artist interviews are realised in collaboration with the partner institutions, PhD researchers and the LIMA team. 

It is important that this type of work gets the attention it deserves just like paintings from the 16th century. I am also curious about the upcoming interview with the artist and how these art forms are counted as part of the collection. These kinds of projects and research results are very important and give a lot of energy.” - Arthur van Mourik (project partner, Centraal Museum)

The analysis of the work stems from a material, conceptual and technical perspective. Recommendations for documentation, registration, preservation as well as storage and sustainability plan are ready in draft. The next steps are the documentation and publication of the results.

Furthermore, we started the preparation of workshops. A great deal of specialist and scientific knowledge about digital art and digital preservation has been gained internationally in recent years, but the connection between the available knowledge and museum practice is still insufficiently made. Moreover, no methods have been implemented within the institutions to permanently acquire new knowledge. This raises the following question: Why and how can this be improved? What knowledge and skills are needed? Is the right knowledge available, findable and accessible enough to be applied? How can we set up a program for artists, contemporary art museum- and cultural heritage professionals and collectors, in which knowledge building and knowledge sharing is implemented sustainably? 

From 9 - 11 November, 2022, the hybrid Sustaining Art: People, Practice, Planet in Contemporary Art Conservation conference takes place in Dundee, Scotland. 

Jan Robert Leegte, Compressed Forests, 2016

Thursday,10 November LIMA will give a workshop on Collaborative Care of Digital Art at 14.30 For more information and to register online, click here.

This workshop will focus on the first case-study included of the Infrastructure Digital Art project Jan Robert Leegte’s Compressed Forests, 2016, which addresses the question of how to preserve generative internet art. Compressed Forests is a browser-based artwork consisting of a website that features pixelated images of forests retrieved from the popular image hosting platform, Flickr. 

This workshop will present how information was expanded upon concerning the artwork through collaboration with the artist, the Utrecht Centraal Museum, where the piece is on permanent loan, and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, who are the owner of the work, as well as how it was distributed to ensure the work’s long-term preservation. 

Through surveys targeted at Dutch cultural heritage institutions, the workshop aims to build upon a base understanding of how to care for digital artworks that have entered collections promoting continued learning opportunities for museum professionals while ensuring the development of protocol for digital works in their care. It will further take this element of knowledge exchange one step further and examine how the project promotes the knowledge sharing between seasoned colleagues and emerging professionals, ensuring inclusivity. 

Olivia Brum, Mauricio van Maessen de Sombreff, Gaby Wijers from the LIMA team together with the participants will address questions such as: What has the case-study of Compressed Forests taught us? What about the work should we carry into the future? How to analyse an online artwork? What kind of documentation do we need now and in the future to understand the work? For instance, regarding how the work functions now or functioned in the past? Then lastly, how might the use of an inter-institutional collaborative platform allow us and others to work together?

Just before this workshop LIMA Director Gaby Wijers will join as one of the mentors during the INCCA Speed Mentoring session, which creates the opportunity of one-on-one conversation in speed-date style with professionals in the field to discuss and get advice on the practices of Sustaining Art. For more information, click here

Documenting Digital Art 


To provide an in-depth investigation of the development of documentation as a set of production, circulation, and preservation strategies and bringing together expertise from different disciplines, an edited book will be published this November, 2022, by Annet Dekker and Gabriella Giannaci. Illustrating how these documentation strategies are often led by artists, audiences, and museums, the contributions in the publication offer new insights into digital art and its history, curation, and preservation, through documentation. bring together expertise from different disciplines, the book. Click here for more information about the book.

Considering documentation as the main method of preserving these art forms, the book analyses how it can address the inherent challenges of capturing live events, visitor experiences, and evolving artworks. Showing how documentation itself can become (part of) an original artwork, the book discusses ways in which these expanded practices can impact the value and experience of the documented event or artwork, giving consideration to how this might affect the traditional authority of the museum as creator of documentation used for future reference, historical relevance, or cultural memory.

LIMA will reflect on the project and the book on her symposium Transformation Digital Art March 2023. Stay tuned, more news on that coming soon!

In other news, make sure to check out the Dutch Digital Heritage Network's symposium on the occasion of today's celebration! Find out more information and the full programme for today by clicking here.