Managing Incoming Born Digital Content
The difference between "born digital content" and "digital content" is that the latter is representative of a non-digital item of some sort. Here the definition of "item" needs to be clarified, but at this point we will simply provide examples:
- a letter on paper of some sort
- an image on a physical carrier such as paper or wood of some sort
"Born digital content" may include such things as images of events, taken by a digital camera, video captures of events, emails: documents which were created first in digital form.
If possible, we need to know the hardware, software, and operating system that created the document -- but this is true also of incoming digital content.
In either case, we're going to want to know about the intellectual content of the document. If digitized by someone else, we may also want a layer of metadata about the original analog version.
We are in the process of developing our procedures and workflows for this type of content, so the following is subject to change.
Upon receiving born-digital content in Digital Services, first notify the Head of Digital Services, who will contact the Associate Dean of Technology for prioritization and determination of preservation or web delivery needs.
Do not immediately open the media.
Fill in the BornDigitalDocumentation file to the best of your ability, asking questions of those who brought you the content.
All incoming media must undergo:
- Write protection, to avoid inadvertant alteration of content
- Virus-checking prior to any access or use
Bear in mind that if we are to preserve this content and attest to it remaining unchanged, and if we are to make it usable again, and provide context, we need to retain the original files as is, in the directory structure as is, with any files that may be referred to or utilized by other files, WITH the original file dates and information. We also have to capture as much information as we can about how the files were created, by whom, using what hardware/software (include versions of these), and why these files are important.
After virus-checking, IF this content is possibly going to be preserved:
- make an ISO capture of the DVD/CD onto designated external hard drive for analysis
- if not on a media that enables this, we will need to capture all file information first, one by one, directory by directory, before copying the entire directory structure elsewhere.
IF we are to make this content available online, try to identify the current delivery formats and extensions for the types of files included in the content, and document your findings. Communicate with the Head of Digital Services to determine how to proceed.