Saturday, August 15, 2015

Born-Digital Access in Archival Repositories: Mapping the Current Landscape

Born-Digital Access in Archival Repositories:Mapping the Current Landscape. Preliminary Report. Rachel Appel, et al. Google docs. August 2015.
     This is a document outlining research that will be presented at the SAA meeting and it contains research and a list of resources that looks at how archival best practices for processing and preserving born-digital materials have developed over the last decade. It says there are no "established best practices for providing research access to born-digital materials that scale to match the volume of born-digital material and meet archival standards surrounding authenticity of records, descriptive metadata, and the protection of donor privacy and intellectual property." Archivists in various institutions face pressure to accept born-digital records, but often they have neither the" preparation nor the resources to preserve them or provide access to them.” One of the problems is that  archivists are not involved early enough in the acquisition process. Another is that they are not always consulted when policy decisions are made at the institution.  The biggest challenge access is the "sensitivity of materials--concerns about copyright, confidentiality, privacy,  intellectual property, and personally identifiable information. The second biggest challenge is IT infrastructure and file size structure, or rather, the lack of it (28 respondents).”

The qualitative and quantitative data were examined to pinpoint aspects of born-digital access that participants classified as gaps: areas participants considered highly important in which little or no practical progress has been made. The gaps clustered into the following five overarching themes, listed in order of frequency.
  1. Gaps in Tools and Systems
  2. Gaps in Business Analysis, Resource Allocation, and Advocacy
  3. Gaps in Skills for Archivists, Sharing Information, and Training Each Other
  4. Gaps in Understanding Users
  5. Gaps in Research and Policy
The five most common aspects of born-digital access that participants were planning to implement were:
  1. Access in Reading Room, Remote, and Online (42 mentions)
  2. Metadata for Access and Processing (25 mentions)
  3. Creation of Copies and Images (19 mentions)
  4. Privacy and Redaction (14 mentions)
  5. Tools (8 mentions)

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