Digital Processing Project Update

We’re now a few months into our Digital Processing Project, which I wrote about back in April for the blog of SAA’s Electronic Records Section. By the end of this project, RAC processing archivists will have the tools, workflows and competencies needed to process digital materials. Through this, we will be able to preserve and provide access to unique born digital content stored on obsolete and decaying media.

So far, we’ve taken a look at some of our existing policies and procedures to update them and fill in our policy holes. First, we assessed our Conditions Governing Access Notes for digital media items described in ArchivesSpace using a script similar to Amy’s DACSspace script. After looking at our existing notes, we decided on language for that clearly outlines to researchers how they can access the content on digital media. We’ll use this for Conditions Governing Access Notes going forward.

We’ve also built upon our Digital Preservation Policy to create clear disposition guidelines for digital media items that are not archival. Finally, we’ve re-assessed separating digital media from their original locations, with the idea that going forward we’ll stabilize digital media as it’s encountered. Instead of separating digital media items at accessioning we’ll note its existence, allowing processing archivists to make contextually informed decisions about those records as they arrange and describe a collection. We’ll also be prioritizing collections with digital media items for processing.

Right now we’re in the middle of appraising all digital media items in the Digital Media Inventory and evaluating if they are unique and in the scope of our collections. This will allow us to devote resources to at-risk archival material. We’re also going to migrate our existing Digital Media Inventory and Tracking Database from a Microsoft Access Database to a new, lightweight inventory and imaging logging system that will integrate with ArchivesSpace. Development of a new digital media log is still in its early stages, but this new system will increase the efficiency of the inventorying and imaging processes limiting the amount of manual data entry. Stay tuned for more info about this new system as development progresses!

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