Main Page

From BitCurator Access
Jump to: navigation, search

The BitCurator Access project has developed tools to assist collecting institutions (libraries, archives, and museums) in providing web-based and local access to born-digital materials held on disk images. BitCurator Access tools simplify access to raw and forensically-packaged disk images, allowing collecting institutions to incorporate these objects into access environments in a manner that reflects the original order and relevant environmental context. Using open source digital forensics software libraries, these tools enable detailed analysis of file and file system provenance, quality and accessibility of files, metadata in files and the file system, and residual (non-file system) data contained within disk images.

Downloads (bca-webtools)

The bca-webtools project is a virtualized web service providing access to disk images contents.

bca-webtools Source (GitHub)

Current and past releases

Quickstart Guide (bca-webtools) Installing and using bca-webtools.

Downloads (bca-redtools)

The bca-redtools project includes a disk image redaction tool and a Python API to construct your own redaction tools.

bca-redtools Source (GitHub)

Current and past releases

Quickstart Guide (bca-redtools) Installing and using bca-redtools.

Online Help

BitCurator User Group Get support and discuss issues with the community.

Support BitCurator

Ongoing development of BitCurator-developed tools depends on the support of BitCurator Consortium members. Find out more about becoming a member.


The source in our GitHub repository is GPL v3 licensed. This wiki, documentation, and other materials generated by the BitCurator team are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). All other software included in the BitCurator environment is distributed in accordance with original licenses.


The BitCurator Access project is hosted at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (SILS). BitCurator Access was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from October 2014 - October 2016. Ongoing support for the community is provided by the BitCurator Consortium.




Visit our main site to see more information on current and former BitCurator team members and contributors.

Research and Development Areas

The BitCurator Access project has focused on four areas of interest related to accessing born-digital collections:

  • Web-based access to raw and forensically packaged disk images
  • Transforming and using digital forensics metadata in collecting environments
  • Redaction of file items, metadata and hidden data from disk images
  • OS and executable virtualization for legacy disk images

Browsing Disk Images on the Web

The bca-webtools project is a Flask application that demonstrates the feasibility of providing direct access to the contents of raw and forensically packaged disk images within a web browser. The application can parse raw and E01-packaged images containing FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, HFS+, and EXT 2/3/4 file systems, and allows users to navigate the file system contents, download individual files, and search the contents within a simple web interface.

For more information on the design of the application, along with instructions on how to obtain and build the software, see the BitCurator Access Webtools page.


The bca-redtools project builds on existing disk image redaction and Digital Forensics XML tools to provide collecting institutions with software to redact strings and byte sequences identified in disk images. The software also includes a Python API allowing institutions to develop powerful custom redaction facilities using cutting-edge tools including lightgrep.

Developing comprehensive strategies for redacting born-digital materials is an important concern for many archives, libraries, and museums. Digital media acquisitions often contain data that may be classified as private, sensitive, or individually identifying, and the complexity and volume of information being collected demands automation to ensure that risks of inadvertent disclosure are minimized.

Currently, there are relatively few open source redaction tools capable of addressing these needs. The bca-redtools project targets specific needs, including:

  • Redacting specific bitstreams from raw disk images
  • Creating redacted copies of forensically-packaged disk images
  • Redacting metadata from common file formats, including Office and PDF files.
  • Redacting patterns from bitstreams using pylightgrep


Born-digital materials that contain executable content or bootable operating systems often require virtualized hardware support to remain accessible. Between 2014 and 2016, the BitCurator Access project explored a range of methods to provision virtual machines providing access to disk images extracted from legacy media, including the use of the bwFLA Emulation-as-a-Service platform developed at the University of Freiburg.

You can find a more detailed explanation of the intended use cases and related technologies in the paper "Functional Access to Forensics Disk Image in a Web Service" (also in the Proceedings of iPres 2015).