The Sustaining MedArt project considers the socio-technical history of a scholarly website, “Images of Medieval Art & Architecture” (http://www.medart.pitt.edu), commonly known as “MedArt,” as part of a broader exploration of recordkeeping practices and preservation plans for digital projects. The site, launched in 1996 by Dr. Alison Stones at the University of Pittsburgh, has persisted for more than two decades despite significant change in the surrounding digital ecosystem. As the name implies, the Sustaining MedArt project is primarily concerned with tackling the complex issues of digital preservation and sustainability, and will culminate in the creation of a widely-applicable Socio-Technical Digital Preservation Roadmap.
As of January 2017, the project has entered its third phase of production and the lab team has expanded to incorporate two new graduate student researchers. These researchers, alongside Aisling Quigley (Project Manager) and Alison Langmead (Principal Investigator), are engaging in digital forensics of the MedArt site, performing a thorough environmental scan, and establishing the theoretical foundations of our work. By the end of last term, the team had conducted interviews with Dr. Alison Stones and Philip Maye, two major contributors to the site. This research comprises the socio-technical investigation of the site, and will lay the groundwork for the production of the digital preservation roadmap by August 2017.