Born-Digital Records: Moving from Theory to Practice

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Leslie Fields, NHPRC Electronic Records Archivist at Mount Holyoke College, presents the results of the College's electronic records start-up grant.

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  •  
  • (JGK) As early as 1839 Mary Lyon wrote about the importance of the library to the institution. Her vision of higher education for women included quote “an ample library.”
  • About the MHC Archives and Special Collections:  The staff consists of two full-time archivists (plus me on the grant project for this year).    Nearly 10,000 linear feet of records and manuscript material. 11,000 rare books.    Maintains a vigorous reference, outreach, and education program.    Also manage 5 student workers; 1 part-time Simmons library school intern; scholar-in-residence program; exhibition work; etc, etc.
  • JGK: The Mount Holyoke College Archives was authorized by the Board of Trustees in 1996 to oversee the disposition of records created as part of the work of the College.    The Archives receives college records transferred by departments on a voluntary basis.    The Mount Holyoke College Records Retention Policy, updated on January 1, 2007, asserts that “Records retention policies and regulations are identical regardless of the form in which records exist – paper or electronic.” Inserting this clause was their attempt to begin to lay the groundwork for expanding our collecting to include born digital materials. With this mandate, they naturally began to try to establish workflows and procedures for electronic records.    With a small staff and an incredibly busy archive, this was proving to be impossible.
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  • I began work in January on this one-year project. Jennifer Gunter King, head of Archives & Special Collections, and I both went to San Antonio in January for the SAA workshop with Tim Pyatt and Seth Shaw. Was a great overview for us, and highly recommend it for others who may be just starting out.   Visited Tufts' DCA (Digital Collections and Archives) to learn how they do things and be inspired by all of their good work, especially their process of transferring records to DCA.    I sent out a lot of emails and made phone calls to a lot of different archivists. All of whom were helpful and kind in answering my questions, and taking time with me.
  • At this time we have a baseline, and as I said at the beginning: "that's not bad." Especially when you're starting from scratch.  We've laid the groundwork for further preservation work: by capturing technical metadata, by having a way of managing this material at all, by getting legacy digital stuff off of a local machine's hard drive (the old system!) and onto a network server that is better protected and better backed-up.  And by connecting our workflow with DAPS.   Let's see what this all looks like...
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  • Born-Digital Records: Moving from Theory to Practice

    1. 1.   Born-Digital Records Moving from Theory to Practice   Leslie Fields NHPRC Electronic Records Archivist Mount Holyoke College   #marac11bdr @LesliePFields
    2. 2. Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives, October 2010 <ul><ul><li>79% of 169 respondents acknowledged the existence of born-digital material in their collections </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>only 35% reported the size of their born-digital holdings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>born-digital = &quot;undercollected, undercounted, undermanaged, and inaccessible&quot; </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3.   Mount Holyoke College founder, Mary Lyon in 1845
    4. 4. Mount Holyoke library, ca. 1876
    5. 7.   MHC Records Retention Policy, January 2007   &quot;Records retention policies and regulations are identical regardless of the form in which records exist – paper or electronic . There are two important categories of material that must be retained and disposed of with particular care – records deemed to have historic value and records governed by regulation.&quot;  
    6. 8.   <ul><li>  </li></ul>  &quot;Don't undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.&quot; ~ Edwin Land
    7. 9.   Starting Small, Learning By Doing <ul><ul><li>Board of Trustees &quot;Board Books&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty Meeting Minutes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mount Holyoke College Course Catalogs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications Office's News and Events Stories </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    8. 10.   On Our Side <ul><ul><li>LITS environment with merged IT </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>creation of Digital Assets and Preservation Services Department (DAPS) within LITS in 2010 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>campus offices very willing to work with us </li></ul></ul>
    9. 11.   Not So Much On Our Side <ul><ul><li>tight timeline to create sustainable processes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no formal records management program in place </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no campus-wide document management system in place  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>lots of clean up needed in Archivists' Toolkit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>change is hard! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    10. 12.   First Things First <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Attended SAA workshop: Managing Electronic Records in Archives & Special Collections </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Met with colleagues at Tufts and the Rockefeller Archive Center </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asked lots of questions... and many great colleagues answered these questions along the way </li></ul></ul>
    11. 13.   What We've Got as of October <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Baseline for accessioning, processing, and providing access to born-digital files </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Groundwork for preservation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Workflows in place with DAPS </li></ul></ul>
    12. 15. Transfer Form <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    13. 16. ArchNet
    14. 17. Duke Data Accessioner <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    15. 18. Duke Data Accessioner results <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    16. 19. Duke Data Accessioner xml file <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    17. 20. Archivists' Toolkit: accessioning <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    18. 21. Archivists' Toolkit: processing <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    19. 22. Over to DAPS <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    20. 23. Access <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    21. 24. DSpace <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    22. 25. To Do List <ul><ul><li>transfer form web application and training </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>file normalization with SNAP and/or by hand </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>clean up AT! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>finding aids from AT to the 5 College finding aid database </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>web archiving services and possible 5 College consortium  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>expand to all campus offices; expand to more file types </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>stop caring for our vital records with soft money </li></ul></ul>
    23. 26. Thank You to... <ul><ul><li>the NHPRC   </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jennifer Gunter King and Patricia Albright at MHC Archives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Erin Fahy, metadata manager extraordinaire , and Sarah Goldstein in DAPS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rockefeller Archive Center Digital Program, especially Marisa Hudspeth and Rebecca Robbins </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tufts DCA, especially Eliot Wilczek and Veronica Martzahl </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seth Shaw, Duke University, for the Duke Data Accessioner   </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tom Laudeman, AIMS project staff at UVA, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, for Rubymatica testing   </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chris Prom's Practical E-Records blog </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>all the amazing archivists who answered my questions this year!   </li></ul></ul>
    24. 27.   <ul><li>Leslie Fields </li></ul><ul><li>NHPRC Electronic Records Archivist Mount Holyoke College   </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address]   </li></ul><ul><li>@LesliePFields   </li></ul><ul><li>#marac11bdr </li></ul>

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