Forging the Future

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Forging the Future is an alliance dedicated to building tools to help rescue digital culture from oblivion.Building on the work of the Variable Media Network, Forging the Future refines and distributes free and open-source products that boost access and aid in preservation. Our aim is to help creators, conservators, and curators understand the possible futures that can be imagined for a cultural artifact, and choose the best among them on a case-by-case basis. Connecting all the Forging the Future tools is the Metaserver, which enables databases managed by different institutions to share standardized information about creators, works, and vocabulary. (

Forging the Future: New Tools for Variable Media Preservation is a consortium of museums and cultural heritage organizations dedicated to exploring, developing, and sharing new vocabularies and tools for cultural preservation.There are three practical and complementary tools that will be developed in this project: the Franklin Furnace Database (FFDB) is designed for cataloging variable media artworks and events contained in small to midsize collections of presenting arts organizations; the Digital Asset Management Database (DAMD) manages digital metadata that is directly relational to all the tools; the Variable Media Questionnaire (VMQ) contains data and metadata necessary to migrate, re-create, and preserve cataloged variable media objects. In addition, a number of tools have been developed to help these tools dovetail with each other and with other existing systems, including the Media Art Notation System (MANS), VocabWiki, and the Metaserver. (


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