Jumping In

One initiative that we took part recently was the “Jump In Initiative,” hosted by the Society of American Archivists’ Manuscript Repositories Section, encouraging smaller repositories to “jump in” and learn how to start managing born-digital data. This initiative was meant to build on the recently released OCLC research report, “You’ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media.

CDSIn just this one collection I have eleven of these boxes, containing 30-40GB each.

From the website:

“Participants should focus on surveying materials in their holdings.  The survey could be of their entire holdings, a group of collections, or just a single collection. Drawing from the OCLC report, the survey should take the following steps:

  • Locate computer media in any physical form.
  • Record the location, inventory number, type of physical medium, and any identifying information found on labels or media such as creator, title, description of contents, and dates. If no identifying information exists, indicate this.
  • Record anything that is known about the hardware, operating systems, and software used to create the files.
  • Count the number of each media type, calculate the total maximum amount of data stored in each medium, and then calculate the overall total for the collection.

It is not a minimum requirement, but participants are encouraged to take the additional steps of prioritizing collections for further treatment and begin the technical steps for dealing with readable media.”

There are multiple CDs and DVDs throughout our collection, and this doesn’t even take into account all the files located across campus which should eventually make their way to the archives. For purposes of this initiative, I picked just one collection, and because of time constraints, wasn’t even able to completely survey the collection. However, if you don’t get started, you’ll never finish. I believe part of this is mental–there is so much that it’s hard to know where to begin. Now, when I am in my temporary space during the 2013-2014 school year, I will be able to finish surveying this particular collection as well as continue on to collect data on the other digitized and born digital records here. I have a procedure and a process in place to record the metadata.

Because of this project, I was able to quickly locate a few digital videos for our “Alpha Omega” Class of 2013 celebration: students who have been at the school from Pre-First (Kindergarten) all the way through 12th grade. I carefully made copies for the Alumni Office (careful not to change the metadata on the original files, that is), and these will be used next week to celebrate their time here at Westminster.

All of the essays will be posted on the Society of American Archivists’ site, and I will post a link here when those are available. Until then, here’s a link to the PDF of my essay: SAA Jump In Initiative Essay. Happy Surveying

Update: Here’s the link to the 23 reports.

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