Issue no.6

ISSN: 2328-0972
June 2016


A lone arranger starting on the journey into managing digital archives, also explored the concept of a “processing philosophy”, i.e. how much effort does one put into the processing of legacy media. Archivists often encounter legacy media of certain and uncertain origin and context, found tucked into paper-based collections or grouped together in boxes. While there is awareness that legacy media needs to be processed, few guidelines exist on how to estimate the processing time required to access and identify their content, particularly post-imaging. As a result, this can have an ongoing impact when it comes to carrying out appraisal, particularly in small institutions.

This article discusses how Bulk Rename Utility and Photoshop software can help increase the efficiency of digital file processing. It describes how these tools have made it feasible for staff at one university to conduct scanning in fulfillment of researcher requests in accordance with local standards for digital masters though the volume of such requests is high. This has increased the frequency at which scans created as a response to researcher requests can be repurposed for inclusion into the university’s Digital Archive and decreased the need for materials to be scanned more than once, thereby minimizing wear.

Recent initiatives in accessioning born-digital archives have focused on removable media, such as using forensic tools to image media. However, there has been little discussion of the born-digital archiving needs of institutional archives. In institutional settings, terabytes of records with permanent value often reside on large, unstructured network drives, frequently alongside active records. Tools to identify batches of inactive records, such as the records of departed staff members or initiatives that have long ended, are often lacking and are designed more for IT departments to manage disk space. This study will explore some tools for locating batches of inactive records that can then be subjected to appraisal. In particular, it will focus on a script developed by the researcher called Archives Finder. Archives Finder searches across large, unstructured network drives for the largest possible grouping of records that are a given number of years old defined by the user. It also includes “fuzzy math” feature that allows the user to specify that only a certain threshold of files need to by X years old. This tool, combined with another tool, will be tested against a large, unstructured network share for its ability to locate inactive records efficiently and accurately.

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