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Christopher (Cal) Lee - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Christopher (Cal) Lee Christopher (Cal) Lee

Professor, UNC School of Information and Library Science | UNC-Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC, UNITED STATES

An expert on the curation of “born digital” materials and use of digital forensics to redact sensitive information in digital collections.

Biography

Dr. Christopher (Cal) Lee is a Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and editor of The American Archivist. He teaches archival administration, records management, digital curation, understanding information technology for managing digital collections, and digital forensics.

He is currently Principal Investigator for BitCurator NLP and was PI of BitCurator Access and BitCurator, projects that have developed and disseminated open-source digital forensics tools for use by libraries, archives, and museums (LAMS). He is also co-PI for OSSArcFlow, a project led by SILS and the Educopia Institute, to research, devise, and test strategies for implementing three leading open source software (OSS) technologies, the BitCurator environment, ArchivesSpace, and Archivematica.

Dr. Lee’s primary area of research is curation of digital collections. He is particularly interested in the professionalization of this work and the diffusion of existing tools and methods into professional practice.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Electronic Records Management

Digital Preservation

Archives

Digital Forensics

Accomplishments (3)

Society of American Archivists (SAA) Fellow

2017

Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor

2013-15

Editor of the American Archivist

2017

Education (2)

Albion College: BA

University of Michigan School of Information: PhD and MS

Courses (2)

INLS 465

Understanding Information Technology for Managing Digital Collections

INLS 561

Digital Forensics for the Curation of Digital Collections

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Articles (7)

Digital Preservation Metadata Practice for Disk Image Access Digital Preservation Metadata for Practitioners

Chassanoff, Alexandra, Kam Woods and Christopher Lee

2016-12-21

Many libraries, archives, and museums are now regularly acquiring, processing, and analyzing born-digital materials. Materials exist on a variety of source media, including flash drives, hard drives, floppy disks, and optical media. Extracting disk images (i.e., sector-by-sector copies of digital media) is an increasingly common practice. It can be essential to ensuring provenance, original order, and chain of custody. Disk images allow users to explore and interact with the original data without risk of permanent alteration. These replicas help institutions to safeguard against modifications to underlying data that can occur when a file system contained on a storage medium is mounted, or a bootable medium is powered up. Retention of disk images can substantially reduce preservation risks. Digital storage media become progressively difficult (or impossible) to read over time, due to “bit rot,” obsolescence of media, and reduced availability of devices to read them. Simply copying the allocated files off a disk and discarding the storage carrier, however, can be problematic. The ability to access and render the content of files can depend upon the presence of other data that resided on the disk.

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From Code to Community: Building and Sustaining BitCurator through Community Engagement BitCurator Project

Lee, Christopher A., Porter Olsen, Alexandra Chassanoff, Kam Woods, Matthew Kirschenbaum, and Sunitha Misra

2014-09-30

This paper examines efforts to develop and support a sustainable body of users of opensource digital forensics software within libraries, archives and museums (LAMs). It discusses motivations, challenges, and emerging strategies for the use of these technologies. The BitCurator project ran from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2014, through funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project was an effort to build, test, and analyze systems and software for incorporating digital forensics methods into the workflows of a variety of collecting institutions. It was led by the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, and involved contributors from several other institutions. Two groups of external partners participated in this process: a Professional Expert Panel (PEP) of individuals who are at various stages of implementing digital forensics tools and methods, and a Development Advisory Group (DAG) of individuals who have significant experience with related software development activities.1 The BitCurator environment is a set of free and open-source tools designed specifically for LAMs. It can be installed as a Linux environment; run as a virtual machine (VM) on top of other operating systems (Windows, Mac, Unix/Linux); or run as individual software tools, packages, support scripts and documentation. Among its functionalities, the BitCurator environment allows individuals to create forensic disk images, perform data triage tasks, analyze and report on file systems, identify personal and sensitive information (such as social security numbers or credit card information), and enables the capture and exporting of technical metadata. This paper is a product of the second phase of the BitCurator project (October 1, 2013 – September 29, 2014), which focused on expanding professional engagement and community outreach activities, along with ongoing development of software products.

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A Web Service for File-Level Access to Disk Images The Code4Lib Journal

Misra, Sunitha, Christopher A. Lee, and Kam Woods

2014-07-21

Digital forensics tools have many potential applications in the curation of digital materials in libraries, archives and museums (LAMs). Open source digital forensics tools can help LAM professionals to extract digital contents from born-digital media and make more informed preservation decisions. Many of these tools have ways to display the metadata of the digital media, but few provide file-level access without having to mount the device or use complex command-line utilities. This paper describes a project to develop software that supports access to the contents of digital media without having to mount or download the entire image. The work examines two approaches in creating this tool: First, a graphical user interface running on a local machine. Second, a web-based application running in web browser. The project incorporates existing open source forensics tools and libraries including The Sleuth Kit and libewf along with the Flask web application framework and custom Python scripts to generate web pages supporting disk image browsing

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Up Close and Personal: Individual Digital Traces as Cultural Heritage and Discovery through Forensics Tools Proceedings of PATCH

Lee, Christopher A

2014-02-24

The documentary traces of individuals (personal traces) have long been recognized and preserved as fundamental components of cultural heritage. They serve as the most personalized possible cultural heritage, reflecting individual behaviors, documenting shared experiences and shaping individual and collective senses of identity. The nature of personal documentary traces has undergone dramatic evolution in recent years, including various aspects of one’s “digital footprint.” Many cultural institutions have begun applying digital forensics to create authentic copies of data on disks; reflect the original order of materials; establish more trustworthy chains of custody; discover and expose associated contextual information; and identify sensitive information that should be filtered, redacted or masked in appropriate ways. Many of the same approaches can be adapted and applied by individuals and families who are managing their own collections of personal traces. This demonstration will illustrate features of the open-source BitCurator environment that allow individuals to discover and navigate the personal traces of themselves and others.

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From Bitstreams to Heritage: Putting Digital Forensics into Practice in Collecting Institutions DRUM

Lee, Christopher A., Kam Woods, Matthew Kirschenbaum, and Alexandra Chassanoff

2013-09-30

This paper examines the application of digital forensics methods to materials in collecting institutions – particularly libraries, archives and museums. It discusses motivations, challenges, and emerging strategies for the use of these technologies and workflows. It is a product of the BitCurator project. The BitCurator project began on October 1, 2011, through funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. BitCurator is an effort to build, test, and analyze systems and software for incorporating digital forensics methods into the workflows of a variety of collecting institutions. It is led by the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, and involves contributors from several other institutions. Two groups of external partners are contributing to this process: a Professional Expert Panel (PEP) of individuals who are at various levels of implementing digital forensics tools and methods in their collecting institution contexts, and a Development Advisory Group (DAG) of individuals who have significant experience with software development.2 This paper is a product of phase one of BitCurator (October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2013). The second phase of the project (October 1, 2013 – September 29, 2014) continues the development of the BitCurator environment, along with expanded professional engagement and community outreach activities.

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Automated Analysis and Visualization of Disk Images and File Systems for Preservation Proceedings of Archiving 2013, Springfield, VA: Society for IMaging Science and Technology, 239-244

Woods, Kam, Christopher Lee, and Sunitha Misra

The documentary traces of individuals (personal traces) have long been recognized and preserved as fundamental components of cultural heritage. They serve as the most personalized possible cultural heritage, reflecting individual behaviors, documenting shared experiences and shaping individual and collective senses of identity. The nature of personal documentary traces has undergone dramatic evolution in recent years, including various aspects of one’s “digital footprint.” Many cultural institutions have begun applying digital forensics to create authentic copies of data on disks; reflect the original order of materials; establish more trustworthy chains of custody; discover and expose associated contextual information; and identify sensitive information that should be filtered, redacted or masked in appropriate ways. Many of the same approaches can be adapted and applied by individuals and families who are managing their own collections of personal traces. This demonstration will illustrate features of the open-source BitCurator environment that allow individuals to discover and navigate the personal traces of themselves and others.

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Automated Redaction of Private and Personal Data in Collections: Toward Responsible Stewardship of Digital Heritage Proceedings of Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation: An International Conference on Permanent Access to Digital Documentary Heritage, 26-28 September 2012, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Lee, Christopher A., and Kam Woods

2012-09-26

In order to support digital heritage, collecting institutions must serve as trustworthy and responsible stewards of digital information. This requires not only selecting, acquiring and retaining valuable collections, but also providing appropriate access to their contents. Access provision involves data mediation to provide useful access points, to convey contextual information, and to ensure that private information is protected. Identification and redacting of private information is a significant challenge for collecting institutions providing access to born-digital collections. We describe work in the BitCurator project to provide collecting institutions with reliable, automated software and reporting procedures to address the above issues.

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