Friday, December 23, 2011

TRAC: A3.6: Change logs

A3.6 Repository has a documented history of the changes to its operations, procedures, software, and hardware that, where appropriate, is linked to relevant preservation strategies and describes potential effects on preserving digital content.

The repository must document the full range of its activities and developments over time, including decisions about the organizational and technological infrastructure. If the repository uses software to document this history, it should be able to demonstrate this tracking.

Evidence: Policies, procedures, and results of changes that affect all levels of the repository: objects, aggregations of objects; object-level preservation metadata; repository’s records retention strategy document. 

I'll focus on the technology pieces of this story.

The technology team maintains a change log of major (and not-so-major) system changes.  Moving a chunk of storage from Network Attached Storage appliance A to B?  It's in the log.  Upgrading the hardware of the web server we used to stage new content and software?  It's in the log.  Updating business productivity software to enforce newly declared business rules that effect how it should work?  It's in the log.

We do a pretty good job overall recording technology changes in a well-known, recorded space.  (Our Intranet is hosted in the Drupal CMS by the U-M central IT organization.)  Of course, there is always room for improvement, but the big stuff gets documented.  For instance, I know that we don't always record changes to desktop workstations (e.g., Windows patches) in the change log, even though we do generate an announcement via email.

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