Tracking for the long term
We're developing a tracking database for management of content over time. Recognizing that this is still software-dependent, and that relational databases are inherently unstable, the plan is to periodically print reports from the database and store these as flat files in the top levels of the storage system, as a form of manifest.
The location of InfoTrack is on libcontent1.lib.ua.edu.
The InfoTrack database
This table contains information about each collection sufficient for a PHP script to be able to dynamically deliver an alphabetized list of current online collections and EAD finding aids, descriptions, icons, links to the content (and if available, the finding aid associated, and the link to that online). Most of this information comes from the Collection_Information file created by Digital Services personnel when they begin to digitize a collection, drawing information from the spreadsheets filled out by archivists. This information is uploaded by the collToDbase script described in step 10 of Moving_Content_To_Long-Term_Storage or the moveContent script described in the 3rd section of Most Content. These scripts also add the expected canned link for retrieving content, and specify if the collection is online yet. More information about this table is available here: allColls
This table was created to support persistent identifiers. It's a lookup table to provide redirects. Each item for which we would like to provide this support is assigned a number. Retrieval of that item will be by using a URL of the form: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/3234 where the number following the last forward slash is the number of the item. The actual url is stored in this table (realurl), along with the assigned number (purlnum), an original identifier (id_2009), a datestamp, and a history of any changes (history). This table is accessed by the script redirect.pl which lives in the cgi-bin of libcontent1.lib.ua.edu. A URL rewrite and a virtual host configuration, along with the DNS registration of purl.lib.ua.edu, were the only other support necessary for this to work. Whenever a file must be moved, the database is updated, and the persistent URL continues to work. In this fashion, we may enter URLs into metadata, webpages, online catalogs, etc., and never have to change them.
This table tracks born digital content such as Electronic Theses and Dissertations, which may have embargoes on web delivery which must be tracked and supported. Fields here include the identifier (id_2009), first and last name of the primary author, collection number (collnum), datestamp entered, title, and the date the content should be made available (dateAvailable, in form yyyy-mm-dd).
This table is designed to capture the type of format an file is in, a URL to information on that format, the quality of the capture, and the version of the format. For example, a TIFF version 6.0 file captured at 600 dpi would have a URL entered from the Unified Digital Format Registry ([] similar to this one now available via the PRONOM Digital Format Registry: [].
By maintaining a record of the current format, version, and quality of each file, in a database, we can easily identify and locate all files in need of migration or emulation in the face of approaching obsolescence.
This table is not yet in use, and will likely expand. The purpose is to track which donors have provided support for digitization, processing, or donated content, and be able to link to their website and use a logo for the display of content.