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Monday, November 8, 2010

TRAC: B2.4: SIPs need to become AIPs

B2.4 Repository can demonstrate that all submitted objects (i.e., SIPs) are either accepted as whole or part of an eventual archival object (i.e., AIP), or otherwise disposed of in a recorded fashion.

The timescale of this process will vary between repositories from seconds to many months, but SIPs must not remain in a limbo-like state forever. The accessioning procedures and the internal processing and audit logs should maintain records of all internal transformations of SIPs to demonstrate that they either become AIPs (or part of AIPs) or are disposed of. Appropriate descriptive information should also document the provenance of all digital objects.

Evidence: System processing files; disposal records; donor or depositor agreements/deeds of gift; provenance tracking system; system log files.

This TRAC requirement moves us away from the technology area and into business processes in other parts of ICPSR.  As such my critique comes more from a perspective of an informed outsider rather than the responsible party.

My sense is that ICPSR has a good review process in place such that deposits are tracked on a regular basis by our acquisitions staff.  If a deposit becomes stuck - which can happen for all sorts of different reasons, only some of which are under the control of ICPSR - the acquisitions team makes sure that it does not fall off the radar screen.

That said, it is certainly possible for ICPSR to receive an unsolicited deposit from a researcher, find some problems with the data or the documentation, and then run into barriers when working with the researcher to resolve the issues.  In this case a deposit can move very slowly through ICPSR's machinery, and may take many years to emerge.  However, even in an uncommon case such as this, we will have records that track and document the barriers so that there is formal institutional memory about the deposit.

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