Macromedia / Adobe Director PAD (Preservation, Access, Dissemination)

I’m interested in developing a critical edition of a work of electronic literature titled Arteroids (http://vispo.com/arteroids). This is an important work of electronic literature, written by Canadian poet and multimedia artist Jim Andrews initially with Macromedia Director 8 and later with upgraded versions up until reaching Adobe Director MX 2004 (version 10.1).

At this time, Adobe Director is in version 11.5, which changes how it generates and interprets its code and has a new audio engine. This means that when you open an Arteroids file with Director 11.5, it converts it to the new code, changing it into a format that no longer runs properly, changing the date modified metadata, and providing an interface that doesn’t allow the same access to the objects. In other words, when I open an old Director file with the new Director, I’m not really looking at the same file anymore. Getting a legal old version of Director is challenging and expensive, presents potential problems with compatibility with current operating systems, and is no longer supported by the company, which makes the work inaccessible for future study. The Shockwave file still runs well, but every time there’s an update to the Shockwave player, I hesitate to install it because I’m afraid that is the one that will render the work unreadable. The key issues here are compatibility and long-term preservation, particularly because there are concerns about how long Director and Shockwave files will remain supported.

My interest is to create an alliance between Adobe, scholars from several academic institutions, and agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Digital Preservation division of the Library of Congress to study and find short-term and long-term solutions to the issues of compatibility and long term preservation of works authored in Director, and perhaps other of Adobe’s authoring software, such as Flash.

If you’re interested in collaborating, contact me by e-mail or through the DH Commons site.

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