The following notes and information came out of Peer Forum I: Disk Imaging, a discussion that took place at MoMA on December 7 and 8, 2017. The following represent the views of the speakers and participants who attended this meeting.


Collaborative Resources




Barrera-Gomez Julianna and Ricky Erway, “Walk This Way: Detailed Steps for Transferring Born-Digital Content from Media You Can Read In-House,” OCLC Research (2012).

Chassanoff, Alexandra, Kam Woods, and Christopher A. Lee Digital Preservation Metadata Practice for Disk Image Access, in Digital Preservation Metadata for Practitioners. Angela Dappert, Rebecca Squire Guenther, and Sebastien Peyrard (Eds.). Springer, January 2016.

Duryee, Alexander: "An Introduction to Optical Media Preservation" The Code4Lib Journal Syndication. April 16, 2014. Accessed July 22, 2015.

Erway, Ricky. “You’ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media,” OCLC Research (2012).

Goethals, Andrea. “Disk Image Formats.” Harvard Wiki, Atlassian Confluence 5.8.17, 2016,

Guerrero, Miriely, “Removable Media and the Use of Digital Forensics,” Bentley Historical Library, Digital Curation. July 2, 2012.

Kennedy, Tara. “45th Annual Meeting, Electronic Media, June 1, ‘Establishing a Workflow for the Preservation of Software-Based Artworks.’” Conservators Converse, 2016,

Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. “An Old House with Many Rooms”: The Textual Forensics of Mestery_House.dsk. Mechanisms.

Kirschenbaum, Matthew, Richard Ovenden, Gabriela Redwine. “Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections,” Council on Library and Information Sources (2010).

Lee, Christopher A. and Kam Woods, Matthew Kirschenbaum, and Alexandra Chassanoff, “From Bitstreams to Heritage: Putting Digital Forensics into Practice in Collecting Institutions,” BitCurator Project (2013).

Lee, Christopher A., Sunitha Misra, and Kam Woods. “A Web Service for File-Level Access to Disk Images”, Code4Lib Journal 25 (2014).   

McDonough, Jerome P.; Olendorf, Robert; Kirschenbaum, Matthew; Kraus, Kari; Reside, Doug; Donahue, Rachel; Phelps, Andrew; Egert, Christopher; Lowood, Henry; Rojo, Susan

Woods, Kam, Christopher Lee, Oleg Stobbe, Thomas Liebetraut and Klaus Rechert. 2015. Functional Access to Forensic Disk Images in a Web Service. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Digital Curation (191-195). Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, School of Information and Library Science.                                                                                                                                            

Woods, Kam, Christopher A. Lee, and Sunitha Misra. 2013. Automated Analysis and Visualization of Disk Images and File Systems for Preservation. In Proceedings of Archiving 2013. Society for Imaging Science and Technology. Springfield, VA. 239-244.


Woods, Kam, and Christopher A. Lee. 2012. Acquisition and Processing of Disk Images to Further Archival Goals. In Proceedings of Archiving 2012 Springfield, VA: Society for Imaging Science and Technology. 147-152.


Woods, Kam, Christopher A. Lee, and Simson Garfinkel. 2011. Extending Digital Repository Architectures to Support Disk Image Preservation and Access. In Proceedings of the 2011 Joint Conference on Digital Libraries.


George Blood Audio, Video, Film. 2014. Preserving Write-Once DVDs. Producing Disc Images, Extracting Content, and Addressing Flaws and Errors.


Olsen, Porter. 2015. Hacking MITH’s Legacy Web Servers: A Holistic Approach to Preservation on the Web.


Olsen, Porter. 2016. Accessing Mac Formatted Floppy Disks without A Kryoflux.


Sheward, Mike. 2012. Rock Solid: Will Digital Forensics Crack SSDs?


Johan Van Der Knijff. 2015. Preserving Optical Media from the Command Line. and


Kim, Yunhyong and Ross, Seamus. 2012. Digital Forensics Formats: Seeking a Digital Preservation Storage Container Format for Web Archiving. The International Journal of Digital Curation Volume 7, Issue 2.


Walsh, Tim. “How to Access Digital Files from the Nineties. A Case Study by Tim Walsh”



Formats and Registries


JISC report examining the principles and practices associated with forensic disk imaging


PRONOM Format Registry

Direct link to search PRONOM by format:


DROID tool to programmatically access PRONOM:


Siegfried tool, similar to DROID, for programmatically accessing PRONOM through command line:


Demo video:


DPC File Formats and Standards master page:


Harvard Wiki about Disk Image Formats:





Disk Imaging and Environments

Definition / History


Link to A (Brief) History of Disk Imaging slides:


Disk imaging / simple definitions on Forensics Wiki:


Imaging (Old) IDE Disks — Harder than Imagined (article by Klaus Rechert about a case of multiple imaging passes on drives producing different MD5 checksums)




BitCurator Environment (includes several imaging and analysis tools): (download the Quickstart Guide for directions on getting started)


FTK Imager No-cost forensic imaging tool to run on Windows


Disktype and supported type list:


(Older) survey of forensic disk image formats:



Isolyzer GitHub repository - contains information and resources on common optical media filesystems:


Floppy Disks

Python-based Tool for trying to identify disk file system formats from kryoflux raw stream files






Yale’s Born Digital Archives Accessioning Service (includes workflow and q/a documentation) - separate process for non-archival media


Python script for reporting from Guymager log files:




Write Blocking and Disk Cloning Devices


Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device (FRED) - specialized PC to acquire materials


Standalone forensic imager:


Software write blocking may be a path for you to explore, but software write blocking in *general* is a fallacy



Emulation and Emulators


Emulation-as-a-Service [EaaS] original project page


Emulation-as-a-Service [EaaS] Recent installation and setup guide


Quick link to EaaS setup (simplest - requires installing Docker)


Example of EaaS running at Rhizome


Introduction to an emulation-based preservation strategy for software-based artworks


Cory Arcangel’s Bomb Iraq on the web






QEMU image support guide (includes simple explanation of qcow):

Download page




MAME multi-purpose emulation framework


Fuse Emulator




Mobile Device Imaging and Analysis  


Why it’s getting harder to extract data from iOS devices:



Tools to image iPhones and Android devices: (note their warnings on how little you’ll get!) (*logical* acquisition and analysis of some devices)



Forensic Analysis for iOS Devices


Metadata and System Metrics


PREMIS: Metadata on preservation activities around digital objects




Wikidata for digital preservation


TOTEM Project

See report/model in this google doc







McDonough, Jerome P.  “‘Knee-Deep in the Data’: Practical Problems in Applying the OAIS Reference Model to the Preservation of Computer Games.” Proceedings of the  45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2012).[1]





Rough Draft of Denver Art Museum Disk Imaging Procedures (subject to change)


{File System information}  


For Windows

For Mac


{Processor serial number BIOS}

For Microsoft

BIOS [Basic Input Output System interface between hardware and operating system]


{System Reports}

For Mac OS


{DFXML of Disk Images}


{Hardware Validation/Failure}

S.M.A.R.T Status [Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology] for disk drive health and potential problems

For Windows

For Mac





Software Preservation Network


Rendering Matters Report


Rendering Matters Report Visual Examples


NESTOR (Network of Expertise in long-term Storage of digital resources in Germany)




Optical drives and media

Opti Drive Control testing


Floppy disks

Description of IBM MFM encoding (very common floppy disc filesystem) standard from National Semiconductor Corporation, 1989:


Solid State Drive (SSD) performance test specification from 2017:


Challenges of Removable Media In Digital Preservation” by Eddy Colloton, Resources list. 


Margaret Hedstrom, Christopher Lee, Judith Olson, and Clifford Lampe (2006) "The Old Version Flickers More": Digital Preservation from the User's Perspective. The American Archivist: Spring/Summer 2006, Vol. 69, No. 1, pp. 159-187.