Managing Incoming Digital Content

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Whether digital content comes to Digital Services that has been digitized by someone else, or born digital, it’s much the same set of issues:

  1. we need to protect the original (even opening the file or virus checking it can change it)
  2. we need to virus check it before anything else
  3. we need to find out everything we can about it, including file dates, file structure, who created it, when, what’s it about, etc (hence the latest documentation files)
  4. we need to capture a snapshot of it if possible (ISO image), and md5 checksums before and after transfer (then compare!)
  5. we need to figure out whether we have to put it online, and/or have to preserve it
  6. we need to figure out how to do those things. This means determining what the significant properties are of the file (text? image? video? software? audio?) , the appropriate file types to transfer to (both for web delivery and for archiving), the quality at which we need to store it, what to name it, what to use for metadata, etc.

Managing digital content created by anyone else is a whole new ball of wax. 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 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 IncomingDigitalDocumentation file to the best of your ability, asking questions of those who brought you the content.

All incoming media must undergo:

  1. Write protection, to avoid inadvertent alteration of content
  2. 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:

  1. make an ISO capture of the DVD/CD onto designated external hard drive for analysis
  2. 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.

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