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Friday, October 1, 2010

TRAC: B1.7: Formal acceptance of deposits

B1.7 Repository can demonstrate when preservation responsibility is formally accepted for the contents of the submitted data objects (i.e., SIPs).

A key component of a repository’s responsibility to gain sufficient control of digital objects is the point when the repository manages the bitstream. For some repositories this will occur when it first receives the SIP transformation, for others it may not occur until the ingested SIP is transformed into an AIP. At this point, the repository formally accepts preservation responsibility of digital objects from the depositor.

Repositories that report back to their depositors generally will mark this acceptance with some form of notification to the depositor. (This may depend on repository responsibilities as designated in the depositor agreement.) A repository may mark the transfer by sending a formal document, often a final signed copy of the transfer agreement, back to the depositor signifying the completion of the transformation from SIP to AIP process. Other approaches are equally acceptable. Brief daily updates may be generated by a repository that only provides annual formal transfer reports.

Evidence: Submission agreements/deposit agreements/deeds of gift; confirmation receipt sent back to producer.

My sense is that this requirement has two very different stories at ICPSR.

One story is pretty simple.  When the depositor signs his/her deposit, custody transfers to ICPSR.  We then work the deposit until we have a post-processed version suitable for digital preservation and versions suitable for delivery on the web site.

The other story is more complicated.  The workflow allows one to un-sign a deposit.  And so the custody of the object could transfer from the depositor to ICPSR (at the initial signing), and then back to the depositor (upon un-signing).  This can even happen in a case where the deposit has been processed and released on the ICPSR web site.  The workflow records this sort of action, and so it is well documented, but does leave open a degenerate case where content is available on the web without the corresponding original submission in archival storage.

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