Integrating Tools into our Process and Workflows

In the last blog post, I described the process and data flow for digital archives using the PAIMAS and OAIS roles, responsibilities, and a few of the functions.  Since that diagram, I have received feedback from MIT colleagues and have over-laid onto it two important considerations.  First, how the storage spaces for metadata and digital objects fit into the process, and second where some of the software tools we are considering will fit into the processes. [version updated on 11/20/14]

Proposed workflow showing human, tool, and storage interactions.

Proposed workflow showing human, tool, and storage interactions.

The software tools that are called out in the diagram are:

  • ArchivesSpace MIT Libraries is a Charter Member of ArchivesSpace, the successor archives management tool for institutions using Archvists’ Toolkit.
  • Archivematica  MIT Libraries is evaluating and assessing how this digital preservation system can be used within the Institute Archives and Special Collections for physical control and performing preservation functions and activities.  [note: Archivematica is not a storage repository.]
  • BitCurator Project  We are looking at the on-going research and beta products from the BitCurator Project using open source forensic tools to create a curator-friendly GUI interface for examining forensic disk images in order to triage incoming digital archival material.
  • AtoM  Access to Memory tool, created by Artefactual, is a display and dissemination package for digital content and its description that links with digital files processed through Archivematica.

The most obvious take-away from the compilation diagram is that the tools will be used in multiple parts of the workflow and this will often be done in an iterative process. We will be assessing the human/tool work chain over the next few months as experiments within MIT Libraries’ newly established Digital Sustainability Lab.  The lab is a collaboration between the Curation and Preservation Services unit, led by Nancy Y. McGovern and the Institute Archives and Special Collections unit, led by Tom Rosko.

Stay tuned!

Posted in All, life-cycle experiments, roles and responsibilities, Tools, workflows | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Visualizing PAIMAS and OAIS

PAIMAS OAIS flowPart of the work with implementing a digital archives program is being transparent within the organization and also to external stakeholders. This diagram attempts to convey the PAIMAS and OAIS functions and responsibilities of the Producer and the Archives.  In this case, I am focused on the tasks with which the Institute Archives and Special Collections department are primarily engaged.

My goal with this diagram is to illustrate the relationships, obligations, and responsibilities between the Producer and the Archives at Ingest.  Concluding the data flow through to archival storage and generate dissemination packages helps to show the full picture.

Those familiar with the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) and the Producer-Archives Interface Methodology Abstract Standard (PAIMAS) will note that not all of the OAIS functional areas are included. Notably missing are Common Services, Administration, and Preservation Planning as fully developed entities.  These functions at MIT Libraries are primarily managed and coordinated by the Curation and Preservation Services department, headed by Nancy Y. McGovern.

This diagram builds on and is a top-level overlay to the workflow diagrams posted previously to this blog.


Posted in All, roles and responsibilities, workflows | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Visualizing PAIMAS and OAIS

Resources we’ve been reading

There have been a lot of really good and relevant publications recently that we’ve been reading and referring to in our on-going development of our digital archives program.  In this post, I am calling out a few of the ones I’m referring to most often.

Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories, released on MediaCommons Press, January 2013.  Read the Publication
Born Digital is a great publication that provides guidance and lays out responsibilities for donors, dealers, and archival repositories involved with archiving digital material.  The cast of authors is superb and they brought together their accumulated experiences and knowledge into a very useful handbook.  The audience for Born Digital includes creators of digital content who are interested in donating material to an archives, third-parties with custody of digital material who are engaging in discussions of archiving material, and archival repositories who are engaged in negotiations and the tasks involved with transferring born digital material.

Digital Preservation Coalition Technology Watch Reports, 2013 issues

British Library’s Digital Preservation Strategy 2013-2016  here
Mo Pennock is the lead author of the BL’s digital preservation strategy that they’ve made publicly available.  As noted on the BL webpage hosting the strategy, “Digital preservation is a lifecycle concern and an organisation’s shared responsibility. Our digital preservation strategy (2013 – 2016) recognises this and implements a cross-directorate governance structure to ensure it can be achieved. This is not a strategy for the digital preservation team alone, but a strategy for the whole library.”

Walk This Way: Detailed Steps for Transferring Born-Digital Content from Media You Can Read In-house, by Julianna Barrera-Gomez and Ricky Erway, OCLC Research  Download the report
“The report collects the assembled wisdom of experienced practitioners to help those with less experience make appropriate choices in gaining control of born-digital content. It contains discrete steps with objectives, links to available tools and software, references and resources for further research and paths to engagement with the digital archives community.”

Proceedings from IS&T Archiving2013, Washington, DC April 2013
Volume 9 © 2013 The Society for Imaging Science and Technology

Archiving is one of my favorite conferences and I find the proceedings are very useful for referring back to as well as for looking up additional references and related resources.  Excerpts are online and the volume is available for purchase.

What have you been reading that relates to digital archives program development?

Posted in All, Legal issues, personal archives, roles and responsibilities, Tools | Comments Off on Resources we’ve been reading