The BitCurator project has been a joint effort led by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (SILS) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) to develop a system for collecting professionals that incorporates the functionality of many digital forensics tools.
There are already many cases of self-contained Linux-based packages that bundle many of the tools in order to support digital forensics activities. However, they are not very approachable to library/archives professionals in terms of interface and documentation.
There are two fundamental needs for collecting institutions that are not addressed by software designed for the digital forensics industry: incorporation into the workflow of archives/library ingest and collection management environments, and provision of public access to the data.
To address these needs, over phase one of the BitCurator project (October 2011 – September 2013), the BitCurator team developed the BitCurator environment, a highly customized version of Ubuntu Linux. The BitCurator environment includes a suite of open source digital forensics tools along with a custom interface that make these tools accessible to librarians and archivists working with digital media. Through the use of these tools, Libraries Archives and Museums (LAMs) can capture bit-for-bit copies of data contained on digital storage devices, scan digital holdings for sensitive information, generate technical metadata reports detailing the content of digital media, and more. Over the course of this development, the BitCurator team was advised by two groups of external partners: a Professional Expert Panel (PEP) of individuals who are at various levels of implementing digital forensics tools and methods in their collecting institutions, and a Development Advisory Group (DAG) of individuals who have significant experience with software development.
Phase two of the BitCurator project (October 2013 – September 2014) continued the development of the BitCurator environment and, in addition, included a concerted outreach and engagement effort to build a sustaining BitCurator users community. These outreach and community building efforts were spearheaded by the BitCurator Community Lead who conducted both online and in-person BitCurator trainings at collecting institutions across the United States and Europe.
Now at the conclusion of phase two, the BitCurator Consortium (BCC) has been established as an independent, community-led membership association that will serve as the host and center of administrative, user and community support for the BitCurator environment. As a charter member of the BCC, MITH will continue to be an active partner in the BitCurator project as it enters the next phase of its development.
BitCurator has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.