Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories

Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories. Gabriela Redwine, et al. Council on Library and Information Resources. October 2013. [PDF]
     "Until recently, digital media and files have been included in archival acquisitions largely as an afterthought." People may not have understood how to deal with digital materials, or staff may not be prepared to manage digital acquisitions. The object is to offer guidance to rare book and manuscript dealers, donors, repository staff, and other custodians to help ensure that digital materials are handled, documented appropriately, and arrive at repositories in good condition, and each section provides recommendations for donors, dealers, and repository staff..

The sections of the report cover:
  • Initial Collection Review
  • Privacy and Intellectual Property
  • Key Stages in Acquiring Digital Materials
  • Post-Acquisition Review by the Repository
  • Appendices, which include: 
    • Potential Staffing Activities for the Repository
    • Preparing for the Unexpected: Recommendations
    • Checklist of Recommendations for Donors and Dealers, and Repositories
Some thoughts and quotes from the report:
  • it is vital to convince all parties to be mindful of how they handle, document, ship, and receive digital media and files.
  • Early communication also helps repository staff take preliminary steps to ensure the archival and file integrity, as well as the usability of digital materials over time.
  • A repository’s assessment criteria may include technical characteristics, nature of the relationship between born-digital and paper materials within a collection, information about context and content, possible transfer options, and particular preservation challenges.
  • Understand if there is a possibility that the digital records include the intellectual property of people besides the creator or donor of the materials.
  • Clarify in writing what digital materials will be transferred by a donor to a repository
    (e.g., hard drives, disks, e-mail archives, websites)
  • It is strongly recommended that donors and dealers seek the
    guidance of archival repositories before any transfer takes place.
  • To avoid changing the content, formatting, and metadata associated with the files, repositories
    must establish clear protocols for the staff’s handling of these materials.
The good practices in this report can help reduce archival problems with digital materials. "Early
archival intervention in records and information management will help shape the impact on archives of user and donor idiosyncrasies around file management and data backup."

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