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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Storing Keepsakes

ICPSR has been around for a long time. A really long time. Fifty years. And archive years are like dog years, so this is really old.

During my nearly seven years at ICPSR I've come to the conclusion that we've collected and stored pretty good metadata about most of our electronic wares. For the past few decades we've used consistent buckets to hold information: this came from a depositor; this we made ourselves; this we derived programmatically from an original source elsewhere; etc.

We have rows and rows and columns and columns of metadata stored away in relational databases; and more recently, we also have a formal tracking system with all of the important events and dates in the history of a study. And in the near future I expect that we'll transition all of this well documented content and metadata into a Fedora repository. This is the good stuff.

But then there is the older stuff.

The stuff of questionable value. The stuff that no one else wants. The stuff that we'll keep anyway.

The keepsakes.

The digital keepsakes.

Before the end of the summer we'll move our digital keepsakes from their current home, and put them into Fedora. We won't need anything terribly sophisticated in terms of Fedora's CMA. We'll create a tool that builds a nice Fedora object (in FOXML) for each of ICPSR's current and former studies, and creates a keepsake object for each.

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