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Are there guidelines or best practices for preserving iOS apps and iBooks?

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asked Jul 24, 2014 by lily (160 points)
Can you describe the context of your work a bit more? Have you received an iPhone with apps that you would like to preserve? Is the book only available as an iBook instead of pdf, mobi, kindle, etc?
At NYARC (http://nyarc.org) we're capturing born-digital art research materials through our web archiving program, but there are e-books and apps (no surprise) that fall within our collecting scope. Some examples:

e-books:
http://mappeditions.com/collection/conversations
http://badlandsunlimited.com/books/marcel-duchamp-the-afternoon-interviews/

Formats vary: epub, ibook, kindle, interactive pdf, etc.

Some titles offer multiple formats, while others do not.

[ An interesting piece re: ebooks: Copying an eBook from Cover to Cover
http://hyperallergic.com/131215/copying-an-ebook-from-cover-to-cover/ ]

Apps:

http://yupnet.org/interactionofcolor/
https://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/the-gagosian-app-for-ipad-2 (updated quarterly)

I could point to many other examples. Increasingly we are "acquiring" these publications and need to develop a strategy for preservation.

Apologies if this question is too broad...thanks for considering it.
Thanks for clarifying. I'd recommend putting all of that into your original question because it will really help people trying to answer it.

2 Answers

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In don't think there are any common practices for this yet. I don't think many organisations are archiving iOS apps, and I don't think anyone knows to preserve them! Certainly, I know I'm not the only one looking forward to seeing what MoMA does with Biophilia.

As for iBooks, the underlying format is a proprietary extension of the ePub spec. and, if you downloaded it from Apple, it will presumably be protected by DRM. If it is DRM'd, you may not have anything you can actually meaningfully archive (at least without breaking the law, depending on your legal context). If it not DRM'd, it may be possible to create an ePub version, but I don't know if any tools can do that yet (the most likely candidate would be Calibre).

answered Jul 25, 2014 by anjackson (2,940 points)
selected Jul 28, 2014 by lily
It's as I suspected, but good to know I'm not missing any movement in this area. I'll play with Calibre and see what I can learn from that tool.
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Of course, making an app available for download on the iTunes store, and linking to it in your site, doesn't constitute permanent archiving, as it will only last as long as the iTunes store is up, and it has the app available (not pulling it for any of the arbitrary and capricious reasons Apple uses, or replacing it with a newer version overwriting the earlier one), and the Apple hardware remains compatible with it. None of this is likely to remain true for more than a few years.
answered Jul 25, 2014 by dantobias (180 points)
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