Cultural Informatics Research Group

Professor David Anderson
Director of the Cultural Informatics Research Group
School of Media
University of Brighton
tel: +44 (0)23 9284 5525


(1) Digital Preservation, Archiving & Future Proof Computing

I co-lead the Future Proof Computing Group.  Over the last two years our group has participated in funded research activity worth over £25m.

(a)  The E-ARK Project - EU Grant Agreement ICT 620998 (£6m)

     EARK logo    ICT PSP LogoEU Flag

Principal Investigator (UoB) Janet Delve

Project Quality Manager (UoB) David Anderson

Archives provide an indispensable component of the digital ecosystem by safeguarding information and enabling access to it. Harmonisation of currently fragmented archival approaches is required to provide the economies of scale necessary for general adoption of end-to-end solutions. There is a critical need for an overarching methodology addressing business and operational issues, and technical solutions for ingest, preservation and re-use.

In co-operation with commercial systems providers, E-ARK will create and pilot a pan-European methodology for electronic document archiving, synthesising existing national and international best practices, that will keep records and databases authentic and usable over time.

The methodology will be implemented in an open pilot in various national contexts, using existing, near-to-market tools, and services developed by the partners. This will allow memory institutions and their clients (public- and private-sector) to assess, in an operational context, the suitability of those state-of-the-art technologies.

Our objective is to provide a single, scalable, robust approach capable of meeting the needs of diverse organisations, public and private, large and small, and able to support complex data types. E-ARK will demonstrate the potential benefits for public administrations, public agencies, public services, citizens and business by providing simple, efficient access to the workflows for the three main activities of an archive - acquiring, preserving and enabling re-use of information.

The practices developed within the project will reduce the risk of information loss due to unsuitable approaches to keeping and archiving of records. The project will be public facing, providing a fully operational archival service, and access to information for its users. The project results will be generic and scalable in order to build an archival infrastructure across the EU and in environments where different legal systems and records management traditions apply. E-ARK will provide new types of access for business users.

E-ARK will pilot an end-to-end OAIS-compliant e-archival service covering ingest, vendor-neutral archiving, and reuse of structured and unstructured data, thus covering both databases and records, addressing the needs of data subjects, owners and users. The pilot and methodology will also focus on the essential pre-ingest phase of data export and normalisation in source systems. The pilot will integrate tools currently in use in partner organisations, and provide a framework for providers of these and similar tools ensuring compatibility and interoperability. A core component of the project is the integration platform which uses the existing ESSArch Preservation Platform (EPP) application as an Archival Information System, which is already in productive deployment at the National Archives of Norway and Sweden. In order to achieve scalability, E-ARK will adopt a data management and storage layer for this tool on top of the proven open-source Cloudera CDH4 distribution of Apache Hadoop, enabling storage and computational power to be seamlessly added to the system.

The pilot will run in several national archives, each of which will provide data to run in the pilot instance by agreement from an associated government data owner (e.g. national or regional / federal).

To sustain the outputs of our project, project partner The DLM Forum, comprising 22 national archives and associated commercial and technical providers, is well placed to ensure these. Using the open Apache licensing model, commercial suppliers will be able to incorporate the project outputs (particularly the open interfaces for pre-ingest, ingest, archival, access and re-use) into their own systems, enhancing their longevity. National archives running E-ARK pilot instances will serve as exemplars for others wanting to adopt up the new e-archiving open system.

In addition, project partner, The Digital Preservation Coalition will promote best practices in this area, as will our dedicated government institution partners.

(b)  The KEEP Project - EU Grant Agreement ICT 231954 (£4m)

     FP7 Logo    EU Flag

Principal Investigator (UoP) David Anderson

Dr. Janet Delve and I led the Portsmouth KEEP team which included Dr Dan Pinchbeck, Dr Leo Konstantelos, Dr Milena Dobreva and Dr Antonio Ciuffreda.   KEEP was a European consortium which developed emulation techniques for preserving digital objects: text, sound, and image files; multimedia documents, websites, databases, videogames etc. The overall aim of the project was to facilitate long-term, universal access to our cultural heritage by developing flexible tools for accessing and storing a wide range of digital objects.

We addressed the problems of transferring digital objects stored on outdated computer media such as floppy discs onto current storage devices. This involved the specification of file formats and the production of transfer tools exploited within a framework, and took into account possible legal and technical issues.

Although primarily aimed at those involved in Cultural Heritage, such as memory institutions and games museums, the Emulation Services we developed also served the needs of a wide range of organisations and individuals because of their universal approach based on porting emulators on a Virtual Machine. In this way we are creating the foundation for the next generation of permanent access strategies based on emulation.

The particular focus of our team within the wider effort was the investigation of metadata models to describe the technical environment needed for emulation; creating GUIs for both the Emulation Framework, and the Virtual Machine peripheral device manager; developing a transfer tool framework; and dissemination to the Computer Science community.

(c)  Digital Preservation Console Project (Development Study) - JISC £13k

Coordinators David Anderson & Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth)

This small project investigated the extent to which it might be possible to develop an
intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) to enable non‐specialist information professionals to
undertake a variety of preservation and information management tasks with a minimum of
preservation‐specific theoretical knowledge. This ‘Digital Preservation Console’, offers
considerable opportunity for capacity‐building across institutions to manage, preserve and
strategically discard digital material.

(d)  POCOS (Preservation Of Complex Objects Symposia) - JISC £185k


Coordinators David Anderson & Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth)

Over recent years significant progress has been made in understanding the issues involved in preserving complex materials and environments. European projects such as Planets and KEEP have provided tools and techniques which have moved forward the state of the art. The POCOS project will deliver a series of 3 symposia at locations across the United Kingdom at which global thought-leaders in research into the Preservation of Complex Objects will share and thereby extend the body of knowledge on this topic. Each seminar will be supported by a substantial and innovative dissemination programme to ensure that the maximum long-term value is obtained from the outputs of the seminar. This will include the production of a peer-reviewed book of the outputs from each symposium offered to the community in a variety of low-cost (or free) formats including print-on-demand, PDF/A and free Kindle e-book. It is also proposed to webcast and/or web-release parts of each symposium in order to increase access for the community. POCOS will deliver pathfinder conclusions to the JISC community which will contribute to shaping the future direction of research in this area.

Project Partners: University of Portsmouth, British Library, King's College London, HATII (Univ. Glasgow).

(2) The History of Computing.

I am particularly interested in the development of the electronic digital computer. I begin in 1936 with Turing’s paper “On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem” and finish, more or less, with Turing’s death in 1954. This captures well most of the significant early developments in the field on both sides of the Atlantic and opens up for study a number of areas which have received little attention elsewhere or have been treated with less rigour than one would hope.

Max Newman LogoSt Johns Logo

I am focussed on the, largely unknown, contribution to early computing of the Cambridge topologist Maxwell Herman Alexander Newman. This has led me to investigate Newman's attempt to build a computer at the University of Manchester immediately after the end of WWII. My research has been able to show that the conventional history of the period is substantially in error. I have been able to uncover three significant "myths" which underlie much of the dominant discourse in British History of Computing.

The Newman Digital Archive

I am leading the development of a digital archive comprising the papers and memorabilia of the mathematician and computer pioneer M.H.A. Newman. This is a joint project with St. John’s College, Cambridge. The physical archive currently contains approximately 650 items and the digital version is in excess of 3000 scanned pages. When complete this will be the world’s biggest digital archive in the History of Computing. I also worked on the Turing Digital Archive (currently the world’s largest such enterprise).

(3) Paraconsistent reasoning

This is a way of overcoming the inability of computers to deal properly with inconsistent data by virtue of being based on classical logic and therby subject to the logical principle ex contradictione quodlibet. Since the turn of the 20th century a number of interesting alternatives to classical logic have been propsed offering varying degrees of effectiveness. Unfortunately such success as they have achieved has been purchased at the cost of sacrificing most of the reasoning tools on which systems, in practice, depend.

I have developed a completely novel approach which has resulted in the development of a group of new paraconsistent systems which arguably achieve an optimal weakening of classical logic. The Epsilon family of logics demonstrably outperform all other 4-valued paraconsistent systems. For the first time, a complete replacement for classical logic can now be contemplated.

As an extension of this work I have provided a tree derivation procedure as a refinement of Beth’s semantic tableaux method and Gentzen’s sequent calculus that provides a straightforward means by which truth-functional multivalued and paraconsistent reasoning systems may be automated.


  • B.A. Hons (Philosophy)
  • Ph.D. (Artificial Intelligence)

Funded Research

  • 2009 Principal Investigator (UoP) KEEP (Keeping Emulation Environments Portable) EU Grant Agreement ICT 231954 (£4m)
  • 2010 Principal Investigator: Digital Preservation Console Scoping Study [JISC (£13k)]
  • 2010 Joint Principal Investigator: Data Warehousing within a Digital Preservation Context Scoping Study [JISC (£2k)]
  • 2011 Joint Coordinator: POCOS (Preservation of Complex Digital Objects Symposia) [JISC (£130k)
  • 2014 Review Co-Ordinator (UoP) E-ARK (European Archival Records and Knowledge Preservation) EU Grant Agreement ICT 620998 (£6m)


Recent Publications


  • 2010 BBC Radio 4 (Pilot) The Golden Age (of Computing) - Sarfraz Manzoor (March)
  • 2009 BBC Radio Gloucestershire Interview - Mark Cummings Show(July)
  • 2009 BBC Radio Solent Interview - Jon Cuthill Show(July) available on
  • 2009 BBC Radio York Interview - Jonathan Cowap Show (July) available on
  • 2009 RTE Interview - (February)
  • 2004 Granada TV Interviewed by Rachel Gwilliam

In the Media

  • 2011 UoP Press Release(,131087,en.html)
  • 2011The Guardian (
  • 2011Art Info (
  • 2009 UoP Press Release (,92028,en.html)
  • 2009 BBC News (
  • 2009 Cordis ICT (
  • 2009 The New Scientist (
  • 2009 The Independent (
  • 2009 Independent Minds (
  • 2009 The Telegraph (
  • 2009 The Guardian (
  • 2009 ACM Tech News (
  • 2009 The Independent Live Journal (
  • 2009 Which magazine (
  • 2009 IDM magazine, (Australia) (
  • 2009 Spong online magazine (
  • 2009 Computer World (
  • 2009 Science Daily, (USA) (
  • 2009 N4G News for Gamers (
  • 2009 Tech Radar (
  • 2009 Games Asylum (
  • 2009 PC Authority (Australia)
  • 2009 Slashdot (
  • 2009 Odeo (
  • 2009 GP32 (
  • 2009 Spawn Point (
  • 2009 News Tin (
  • 2009 Manufacturing Computer Solutions (
  • 2009 Word (
  • 2009 The Daily Star (
  • 2009 Golem (Germany) (
  • 2009 AlphaGalileo (
  • 2009 (Netherlands) (
  • 2009 (Poland) (
  • 2009 PC Pro Magazine (
  • 2009 The Hindu (
  • 2009 Tech World (
  • 2009 Software Picks Network
  • 2009 (

On the Blogosphere

  • 2009 Techdune
  • 2009
  • 2009 Webscene:
  • 2009 Andrewsblog
  • 2009 (Brazil)
  • 2009 Vogons
  • 2009 Mame World
  • 2009 Blog Log
  • 2009 Video Games Blogger
  • 2009 Reddit Gaming
  • 2009 AEP Emulation Page
  • 2009 Atari
  • 2009 Games Play Around
  • 2009 Sony (Current)
  • 2009 HCTOR
  • 2009 Computers Computers
  • 2009 Brave New World
  • 2009 NTRA Net
  • 2009 IT
  • 2009 Hamara Photos
  • 2009 Kavandeo
  • 2009 Bubble Jam
  • 2009 Sir Arthur's Den

Professional Service


  • General Editor New Review of Informatio  Networking, Taylor & Farncis
  • Series Editor: IEEE Computer Society, History of Computing Series

Awards, fellowships, memberships etc.:

  • Member of the IEEE Computer Society Publications Board
  • Member IFIP WG 9.7 History of Computing Committee (Vice Chairman from 2009)
  • Founding member of the Executive Committee of the European History of Computing Group
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the BCS Computer Conservation Society (CSS) for which I have served as webmaster and meetings co-ordinator
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Association for History and Computing (AHC)
  • Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Member of the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics
  • Member of the Institute of Historical Research
  • Member of the British Society for the History of Mathematics
  • Past Visiting Research Fellow, Christchurch University, NZ


  • Chairman, IFIP Working Group 9.7 (History of Computing)
  • Reviewer for numerous conferences and journals including IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
  • Webmaster for the BCS Computer Conservation Society (CSS)
  • Meetings co-ordinator for the BCS Computer Conservation Society (CSS)
  • Co-organiser of the UK History of Computing Research In Progress Workshops