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Archival Processing Documentation: Digital Materials

Guide for UB Special Collections covering accessions, processing, description, and care of collection material.
Last Updated: Jun 6, 2024 4:13 PM

Collection-level description of born-digital and hybrid collections. Collection-level description of born-digital and hybrid collections. See also Digital Records in Special Collections. The following guidelines are adapted from the UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description, version 1.0, 2017. (University of California Systemwide Libraries. (2017). UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description. UC Office of the President: University of California Systemwide Libraries. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/9cg222jc.)
Extent Required, Repeatable
Appraisal Information Optional
Arrangement Required
Conditions Governing Access  Required
Processing Information Required
Extent

EAD element: <physdesc> | DACS 2.5

A quantitative measurement of processed digital content (preservation files).

As part of the container summary, include the total number of folders and files that have been preserved. When calculating size, round to three decimal points only when content is less than 1 GB. For unprocessed material where capacity is unknown or difficult to estimate, include a count of the unprocessed media formats. When describing an archival object that is represented by both digital and analog materials, choose Portion = "Part." For assets ingested as multiple representations or PAX, calculate extent using the access copies rather than the preservation files.

Examples:

Hybrid Collection:

Extent: 109 linear feet
Container summary: 100 record cartons, 5 manuscript boxes

Extent: 985 gigabytes
Container summary: 37,364 files, 25 folders

Born-Digital Collection:

Extent: 3750 gigabytes
Container summary: 58,439 digital files

Unprocessed born-digital collection:

Extent: 250 gigabytes
Container summary: 1 external hard drive, 3 3.5-inch floppy disks

Appraisal Information

EAD element: <appraisal> | DACS 5.3

Note any general information about actions relating to appraisal, deduplication, or weeding of digital files. Refer to or link to library policy if applicable. Do not include specific technical details about the process of de-duplication or weeding in Appraisal Information.

Example: Temporary and deleted files were removed from this collection according to the Library’s digital preservation and privacy policies.

Arrangement

EAD element: <arrangement> | DACS 3.2

Include a sentence or two about how the digital materials were organized and arranged. Note whether or not the original order of the files has been maintained. Note whether the digital materials have been segregated into their own series or whether the digital material has been subdivided into multiple series, and if so on the basis of what (ie, content, format, etc.)?

If the files have been re-arranged by the processor into a new folder structure, indicate this.

May repeat at series and component-level.

Examples:

"Born-digital materials are integrated into their corresponding series based on content. The original order of the files is retained."

Conditions Governing Access

EAD element: <accessrestrict> | DACS 4.1

Use this field to inform researchers about special instructions needed to access the digital content.

Label = Special Viewing Instructions

Example:
"Access to digital material provided via the [University Archives'/Poetry Collection's] Digital Archives online repository."

Processing Information

EAD element: <processinfo> | DACS 8.1.5

If the digital materials were processed either at a later date and/or by a different person than the rest of the collection, specify when and by whom they were processed.

Examples:
"Processed by John Smith in February 2016. Digital materials processed in 2017 by Jane Doe."

Decisions to migrate data from storage media, to normalize different file formats, redact or remove personally identifiable information (PII), extract files, or alter filenames, or if material cannot be processed due to technical limitations must all be recorded.

Also note if processors have altered original file structure, deleted empty directories, changed (or not) permissions, etc.

Examples:

"This collection was processed in accordance with the University Archives processing guidelines/policies. For more information, see https://research.lib.buffalo.edu/digitalpreservation/processing"

"Digital files created by [insert donor name] were transferred to the [University Archives/Poetry Collection] on storage media including [describe storage media formats]. Where possible, digital content saved on storage media was migrated from the storage media, normalized to standard preservation and access formats, and transferred to a stable preservation environment following the University Libraries' Digital Preservation guidelines. Some folder titles were altered and file arrangement reorganized to assist researchers in locating and identifying digital content. File names were altered to include the collection name at the beginning of the original file name. For a list of original file names, refer to the file manifests of each folder."

Describing series and sub-series in born-digital and hybrid collections. See also Digital Records in Special Collections. The following guidelines are adapted from the UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description, version 1.0, 2017. (University of California Systemwide Libraries. (2017). UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description. UC Office of the President: University of California Systemwide Libraries. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/9cg222jc.)

Date

EAD element: <unitdate> | DACS 2.4

A modified date signifies the most recent date of change to the resource. A Modified date is used only when describing digital materials and can be used in conjunction with a creation date.

A migration date signifies the date of file migration. A migration date is used when files are converted to a different file format for the purpose of long-term preservation. A migration date may be used in conjunction with a creation and/or modified date.

Extent

EAD element: <physdesc> | DACS 2.5

A quantitative measurement of processed digital content (preservation files).

As part of the container summary, include the total number of folders and files that have been preserved. When calculating size, round to three decimal points only when content is less than 1 GB.

For unprocessed material where capacity is unknown or difficult to estimate, include a count of the unprocessed media formats.

When describing an archival object that is represented by both digital and analog materials, choose Portion = "Part."

For assets ingested as multiple representations or PAX, calculate extent using the access copies rather than the preservation files.

Arrangement

EAD element: <arrangement> | DACS 3.2

Include a sentence or two about how the digital materials were organized and arranged. Note whether or not the original order of the files has been maintained. Note whether the digital materials have been segregated into their own series or whether the digital material has been subdivided into multiple series, and if so on the basis of what (ie, content, format, etc.)?

If the files have been re-arranged by the processor into a new folder structure, indicate this.

May repeat at component-level.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

EAD element: <phystech> | DACS 4.3

Use this field to inform researchers about the physical or technical characteristics of digital materials that will affect their ability to access them.

If any portion of a collection contains digital material that cannot be readily accessed by researchers, then a note must be placed at every level of the collection (ie series, box, folder, etc.) to notify researchers that this is the case. This ensures that researchers will see the requirements necessary to access material.

May repeat at componenet-level.

Processing Information

EAD element: <processinfo> | DACS 8.1.5

Information that future archivists and users use to understand where the materials came from, how they were created, and the process by which they are able to access the materials. Decisions to migrate data from storage media, to normalize different file formats, redact or remove Personally Identifiable Information (PII), extract files, or alter filenames, or if material cannot be processed due to technical limitations must all be recorded.

Also note if processors have altered original file structure, deleted empty directories, changed (or not) permissions, etc.

Describing files in born-digital and hybrid collections. See also Digital Records in Special Collections. The following guidelines are adapted from the UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description, version 1.0, 2017. (University of California Systemwide Libraries. (2017). UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description. UC Office of the President: University of California Systemwide Libraries. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/9cg222jc.)

Date

EAD element: <unitdate> | DACS 2.4

A creation date signifies the date of the creation of the resource.

A modified date signifies the most recent date of change to the resource. A modified date is used only when describing digital materials and can be used in conjunction with a creation date.

A migration date signifies the date of file migration. A migration date is used when files are converted to a different file format for the purpose of long-term preservation. A migration date may be used in conjunction with a creation and/or modified date.

Extent

EAD element: <physdesc> | DACS 2.5

A quantitative measurement of processed digital content (preservation files).

As part of the container summary, include the total number of folders and files that have been preserved.

When calculating size, round to three decimal points only when content is less than 1 GB.

For unprocessed material where capacity is unknown or difficult to estimate, include a count of the unprocessed media formats.

When describing an archival object that is represented by both digital and analog materials, choose Portion = "Part"

For assets ingested as multiple representations or PAX, calculate extent using the access copies rather than the preservation files.

Arrangement

EAD element: <arrangement> | DACS 3.2

Include a sentence or two about how the digital materials were organized and arranged. Note whether or not the original order of the files has been maintained. Note whether the digital materials have been segregated into their own series or whether the digital material has been subdivided into multiple series, and if so on the basis of what (ie, content, format, etc.)?

If the files have been re-arranged by the processor into a new folder structure, indicate this.

May repeat at series and component-level.

Examples:

"Born-digital materials are integrated into their corresponding series based on content. The original order of the files is retained."

Conditions Governing Access

EAD element: <accessrestrict> | DACS 4.1

Use this field to inform researchers about special instructions needed to access the digital content.


Label = Special Viewing Instructions

Content = Access to digital material provided via the [University Archives'/Poetry Collection's] Digital Archives online repository.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

EAD element: <phystech> | DACS 4.3

Use this field to inform researchers about the physical or technical characteristics of digital materials that will affect their ability to access them.

If any portion of a collection contains digital material that cannot be readily accessed by researchers, then a note must be placed at every level of the collection (ie series, box, folder, etc.) to notify researchers that this is the case. This ensures that researchers will see the requirements necessary to access material.

Processing Information

EAD element: <processinfo> | DACS 8.1.5

Information that future archivists and users use to understand where the materials came from, how they were created, and the process by which they are able to access the materials. Decisions to migrate data from storage media, to normalize different file formats, redact or remove personally identifiable information (PII), extract files, or alter filenames, or if material cannot be processed due to technical limitations must all be recorded.

Also note if processors have altered original file structure, deleted empty directories, changed (or not) permissions, etc.

Scope and Contents

EAD element: <scopecontent> | DACS 3.1

This field provides a more detailed description of the materials that are in the archival object and context for the material. It should not explain every item in the folder but rather give the researcher a general idea of what to expect from the folder, helping them to determine if it might be useful. In other words, why would a researcher use this folder? Begin the note by restating the folder title.

File Manifest

A file manifest that includes file name(s), last modified date(s), and file format(s) as generated by DROID or Karen's Directory Printer.

Exception: Use of this note is at the discretion of the processor (i.e. if a folder contains images taken with a digital camera, file names may be a string of alphanumeric values and may not be useful to a researcher).


Note type = General

Label = File Manifest

"Adventures of Pi.doc 118784 BYTES 2010-08-22T15:33:32 Microsoft Word Document"
"Adventures of Pi.pdf 131858 BYTES 2017-11-28T10:57:46 Acrobat PDF 1.5 - Portable Document Format"

 

Basic Information
Title | Required
Tag: <title> | XIP: <title>
This element provides a word or phrase by which the material being described is known or can be identified. A title may be devised or formal. Title is often auto-filled by Preservica and is the name of the collection or folder being described.
Identifier | Required
Tag: <refid> | XIP: <collectionref>
An identifier unique to this digital object. When describing a digital object stored in Preservica, the string will be a 32-digit number. The number is located in the External Documents > Location Field, among other locations in the record.

Example: 464a6113-3deb-4903-805c-23a1db330c59

VRA Core level | Required
Choose from drop-down list. Primarily for use in multi-level VRA Core compliant records to indicate that a description is about a collection, a work, or an image.

Work (a built or created object)
Collection (an aggregate of such objects)
Image (a visual surrogate of such objects)

Digital Object Type | Required
Tag: <typeOfResource
Choose a generic term indicating the basic content type of the digital object from a drop-down list.

 

Language | Optional
Tag: <language> | XIP: <language>
The language of the material being described

 

Example: English

Restrictions | Optional
Select this tick box if access restrictions exist

 

 

File Versions record*
*Two file version records are generated automatically; one for the digital preservation staff system and one for the electronic record access system.
Make Representative | Optional
Select for Electronic Record Access System file version
File URI | Required
File URI is supplied by Preservica. Edit URL to remove all text except the URL
Publish | Optional
Select tick box to publish the Electronic Record Access System file version only.
Use Statement | Required
Select tick box to publish the Electronic Record Access System file version only.
XLink Actuate Attribute | Required

This attribute is used during export to indicate how the digital object should display.

Choose from drop-down list

Used in conjunction with Show Attribut
XLink Show Attribute | Required

This attribute is used during export to indicate where the target of a link should be displayed.

Choose from drop-down list

Used in conjunction with Actuate Attribute
Thumbnails / Third File Versions
To create thumbnails add a third File Version record and fill in the following fields:
File URI | Required
https://buffalo.access.preservica.com/download/
thumbnail/deliverableUnit_UUID
Publish | Required
Select tick box to publish the thumbnail.
Use Statement | Required
Select the appropriate Type, for a image thumbnail, select Image-Thumbnail
XLink Actuate Attribute | Required

This attribute is used during export to indicate how the thumbnail should display.

Choose from the drop-down list

Used in conjunction with Show Attribute

XLinkShow Attribute | Required

This attribute is used during export to indicate where the target of link should be displayed.

Choose from drop-down list

Used in conjunction with Actuate Attribute

Dates sub-record (repeatable for creation, modified, and migration dates)
Label | Required / Repeatable

Describes the type of activity that the date signifies.

Modified is preferable to Creation with describing digital materials, where a modified and creation date are present, creation date should be displayed first.

A migration date signifies the date of file migration. A migration date is used when files are converted to a different file format for the purpose of long-term preservation. A migration date may be used in conjunction with a creation and/or modified date.

Expression | Required
Represents the dates covered by the materials in free text form.  

 

Type | Required
Indicate if the date is for Single, Bulk, or Inclusive Date(s) from the controlled value dropdown list.
Extent sub-record
Portion | Required / Repeatable
"Whole"
Number/Type | Required
Open numeric field used to express the number of units in the extent statement. Express in gigabytes, i.e., 23.5, 0.02.

For files less than 1 MB, round up to 0.001 GB.

Container Summary | Required
Open text field describing the number of files and optionally, the number of folders, i.e. "12,000 files" or "12,000 files, 82 folders."  
Notes
Scope & Contents | Optional
Use only if present in the linked component
General | Required
Label = File Manifest
Exception: Use of this note is at the discretion of the processor (i.e. if a folder contains images taken with a digital camera, file names may be a string of alphanumeric values and may not be useful to a researcher).