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Friday, February 25, 2011

TRAC: B2.13: Documenting preservation actions

B2.13 Repository has contemporaneous records of actions and administration processes that are relevant to preservation (AIP creation).

These records must be created on or about the time of the actions they refer to and are related to actions associated with AIP creation. The records may be automated or may be written by individuals, depending on the nature of the actions described. Where community or international standards are used, such as PREMIS (2005), the repository must demonstrate that all relevant actions are carried through.

Evidence: Written documentation of decisions and/or action taken; preservation metadata logged, stored, and linked to pertinent digital objects.

ICPSR manages the record of administrative actions in three different ways.

At the micro level, actions performed on individual files, or collections of files, are recorded in an internal workflow system called the Study Tracking System.  This records key events and milestones as they occur, and also has a mechanism for free-form annotations (diary entries).

Also at the micro level, ICPSR data managers often produce a consolidate list of commands (syntax files) that document how we have transformed content that we have received.  In an idealized case one could take an original survey data file, apply the syntax, and the output would be the file we preserve and distribute.

At a more macro level ICPSR records important events and documents their results in an internal content management system.  (We're currently using Drupal for this, but any content management system would be suitable for this purpose.)  This system would capture information such as the deployment of a new archival storage location.

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