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Friday, June 10, 2011

TRAC: B4.5: Archival storage records

B4.5 Repository has contemporaneous records of actions and administration processes that are relevant to preservation (Archival Storage).

These records must be created on or about the time of the actions they refer to and are related to actions associated with archival storage. 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.



If I was to map ICPSR's business processes to the OAIS reference model, the vast majority of the active work would take place in the Ingest area, and most of the resources of ICPSR would be devoted to that activity - moving content through its initial deposit and into Archival Storage and Dissemination. 

The next major area that gets attention and resources would be Dissemination.  A significant number of people prepare content for delivery on our web site, and ICPSR also employs several software developers and web designers who build (we hope!) better and better systems for making social science datasets and documentation available to the research community.

And so the number of actions and administrative processes that we apply to content in Archival Storage is relatively small.  Except for the major migration in media described in earlier posts, items in Archival Storage don't tend to change much, and we don't tend to perform all many functions on them, except for the regular fixity checks.  Most of the actions, I believe, have been taken at the meta-level rather than the object level, such as standing up additional storage locations to that objects are stored in N + 1 locations rather than N.

Given that the actions are infrequent and apply more to the infrastructure comprising Archival Storage rather than the objects in Archival Storage, we've tended to document actions, decisions, and changes manually and in narrative rather than in some more automated way using a machine-actionable format, such as an XML schema like PREMIS.  For instance, when we added our newest Archival Storage location, we described this in a post on our Intranet.

How have others tended to document such decisions and actions?

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