[sc-discuss] Internet Archive succeeds in getting DMCA reprieve for software preservation

William Bug William.Bug at DrexelMed.edu
Wed Nov 29 21:39:09 EST 2006

Hi All,

Many may have seen this already, but I thought I make a brief post  
here to recommend others read Brewster Kahle's brief post at the IA  
regarding this recent decision:


Basically, IA can now circumvent copy protection in an effort to  
preserve/archive software.

This obviously has relevance to the SC, as we're already 25 years  
into the era where commercial software has often been a critical tool  
in the lab.  Many primary data records that even just 40 years ago  
would be in lab notebooks and original chart recordings of various  
types now are often stored in proprietary binary formats.  It's true  
old data of this sort is often disposed of, but one would hope in the  
digital age, such data would eventually be made available as a  
valuable archive for future meta-analysis.

Companies such as DNAStar, Scanalytics, Axon Instruments/Molecular  
Devices, IGOR/Wavemetrics, etc. have been around now for >15 years.   
Each of these companies' support pages has no mention of recovering/ 
reformating old files >15 years old (not a particularly profitable  
task to invest resources in).  I assume they'd be happy to help for a  
fee, but that begs the question of whether its appropriate for a  
research project to pay a company for assistance access data acquired  
with licensed software on a public research grant.



Axon Instruments/Molecular Devices


One would hope there will also be an effort to preserve the many  
other non-commercial software tools created and used by academic  
researchers.  There are currently many isolated archives of such  
valuable resources, but there is an increasing need - and even  
funding initiatives coming from the NIH, for instance, for broader  
initiatives to host and preserve such valuable resources.  Some  
current examples are:

	Netlib math software archive:

	Materials Computation Center Software Archive

	Computational Chemistry List, ltd. Software Archive

	The OpenScience Project

	The IU Bio-Archive Bioinformatics software archive

	The EBI bioinformatics software ftp archive

	The Genetic Analysis Software List (not really an archive, but a  
yellow pages list)

	Internet Analysis Tools Registry (again - a list - not an archive)

Speaking of data mining archival scientific data, are others aware of:

UCR Time Series Data Mining Archive

I just came across it, and it sounds very interesting.

I believe Don Doherty's company - Don may be on this list -  
Brainstage Research, Inc. (http://www.brainstage.com/) is focussed on  
the use of semantic web technology with a similar goal in mind.


Bill Bug
Senior Research Analyst/Ontological Engineer

Laboratory for Bioimaging  & Anatomical Informatics
Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
Drexel University College of Medicine
2900 Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA    19129
215 991 8430 (ph)
610 457 0443 (mobile)
215 843 9367 (fax)

Please Note: I now have a new email - William.Bug at DrexelMed.edu

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