16 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
information. (See Kirschenbaum, Digital Forensics,
pages 49–58 for additional discussion of privacy and
security issues related to born-digital objects.)
Several respondents noted that archivists need
to be able to dedicate more time to developing poli-
cies and conducting test pilots. The lack of clear poli-
cies and workflows can lead to inconsistent practices
across collections and across the institution, and to
inefficient resource allocation. Without consistent
policies and procedures libraries cannot insure
continued access to the born-digital objects. The
PARADIGM project (Bodleian Library) and AIMS
project both provide guidance in establishing poli-
cies and workflows. The BitCurator Project, led by
the School of Information Science at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill and by the Maryland
Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the
University of Maryland, is building on these efforts.
It will define and test a digital curation workflow,
beginning at the point of encountering holdings that
reside on removable media and ending with interac-
tion with an end user.
The tools and systems used in the ingest process
tend to be modular, and many were originally de-
veloped for use by other communities. For example,
commercial forensics packages (which are very use-
ful for browsing content and identifying personally
identifiable information) were developed specifically
for law enforcement. While the functionalities of these
products have guided institutions in the development
of workflows, they cannot be easily combined to meet
the needs of the library and archives community.
As one respondent noted, “There are several open-
source and commercial products that can do pieces
of the workflow, but as they are not designed to work
together there are inefficiencies in stringing these
workflows together.” Another respondent added that
“most ingest software is in alpha or beta release, with
long-term roadmaps for future development.” Early
adopters and those libraries able to develop their own
systems need to be comfortable with uncertainty and
a certain amount of churn. Other archives are wait-
ing for system development to catch up with their
needs. Systems currently used include Archivematica,
Rosetta, and the Curator’s Workbench; others like
Hypatia and BitCurator show potential for the future.
The final category of challenges related to ingest
relates to the capacity needed to scale up workflows
and systems to manage the flood of born-digital ob-
jects needing preservation. Respondents highlighted
the need for sufficient storage space, adequate net-
work capacity, increased staffing, staff training, au-
tomation of standard tasks, and enterprise-level sys-
tems. One respondent noted, “Our current archival
storage was scaled to accommodate our analog to
digital digitization program.” It is more challenging to
estimate the needs for born-digital special collections
and archival materials: the timing for acquisitions can
be hard to predict; the volume is not always known at
the time of receipt (often because the digital objects
are on legacy media); the formats often vary widely;
and it is often unclear which materials will need to be
restricted (because the files cannot be accessed before
receipt due to media or format).
Storage Challenges
The challenges related to storage systems can be sepa-
rated into three major areas: systems limitations, orga-
nizational challenges, and insufficient resources (i.e.,
not enough available space and high storage costs).
The challenges surrounding systems limitations were
divided between the need for preservation-quality
infrastructure and the need for security for and access
to the materials themselves. Organizational challenges
fell into three categories: policy and planning, gaining
and retaining sufficient staff and skills, and managing
the organizational structure (from the department up
to the entire organization) while maintaining effective
coordination between all the stakeholders. One set of
concerns about sufficient resources represents two
sides of the same coin: insuring adequate file storage
space and its cost. Other challenges related to storage
space include the difficulty in estimating and predict-
ing capacity needs. One comment that summarizes
the issues well indicates that storage needs for born-
digital records should not be only the responsibility
of the library and archives: “Future storage needs for
large-scale ingest of born-digital special collections
materials will probably be integrated into university-
wide planning for digital repositories, a digital asset
management system, and networked storage and con-
tinuity planning.”
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