building trusted personal archives

About iKive

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What is iKive.com?

iKive is a research project.  It seeks to build a service that will allow people to generate a trusted, centralized archives of desktop files, social media records, email, and other records of long-term value.  iKive seeks weave existing and/or newly developed open source tools into an integrated package of services, and to make those tools available through this website or that of one of its partners.

The iKive service will allow people to push or pull records and information from email accounts, blogs, facebook pages, twitter feeds, local computers, or other sources that are connected to the internet.  These records will be saved to a redundant, cloud-based server in a standardized, preservable, format.  Regular integrity checks will be run against duplicate copies and the checksums generated at time of file upload.  Content will be stored with sufficient technical and structural metadata to permit its long-term preservation.

Initially, subscribers will self register and pay a monthly fee, or their parent institution will pay on their behalf.  For people who subscribe to the service at this ‘basic’ level, any records in their iKive account will remain wholly under their control and subject to a strict privacy policy, to be defined during the project.

Configuring connections to exisiting data sources such as email accounts, desktops, and social meda feeds,  and (optionally) defining filters to determing the nature of the content pushed or pulled into the subscriber’s iKive account, the ‘basic’ service would allow people to know that  information important to them is secure, and make it searchable in a unified, faceted online portal.

People could also subscribe, at no additional cost, to an ‘enhanced’ service level.  At the ‘enhanced’ level, materials would be managed under a legal agreement/partnership between the records creator (as a donor), iKive.com (as service provider), and an established archives or manuscript library (as donee).  Once materials have been donated to a public institution, they would be managed under an access agreement, allowing members of the public to access the files under the terms spelled out in the agreement.

The service seeks to assist people in controlling their personal digital legacy, providing them an opportunity to preserve it permanently if they or their descendents so choose.  It is based, in part, on ideas articulated by David Bearman in the early 1990s, but never put into effect, and would be an implementation of the type of tool called for by Evan Carroll.

Technically, the service would be:

  • based on very common web standards (PHP, AJAX, REST, JSON)
  • an example of a “lifestreaming” application
  • priced competitively vis-à-vis commercial backup services
  • complaint with digital preservation standards
  • a trusted part of academic community
  • support other digital preservation initiatives (e.g. data stewardship).
  • a complement to institutional repositories and other resources such as DuraSpace

While there is lot to address in a project like this, the first step is to see if it is technically possible and whether legal/IP issues could be worked out in order to make the service practicable.

© This content copyright Christopher J. Prom, 2011.

Last updated July 18, 2011.

Written by Chris Prom

July 13th, 2011 at 7:28 pm

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  • danny


    are you interested in selling the domain name?