SPEC Kit 329: Managing Born-Digital Special Collections and Archival Materials · 187
yale univerSity
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Unit, Processing Manual. Electronic Files
When we receive computer media for which we have the technical infrastructure in
place in the digital preservation lab to accession it, we will attempt to accession it in
time for staff working on the paper component of the collection to analyze the records
contained on the media and possibly integrate them into the collection. This will depend
on various factors, including the volume of media in the accession and staff availability.
This may enable staff to complete processing for some collections.
Because baseline processing of new accessions was implemented prior to disk imaging,
collections dating from roughly 2008-2011 were processed before the policy above was
in place. The result in most cases is that media was routed into the computer media
accessioning workflow and documented in the finding aid only (as media and not
records) in Restricted Fragile Papers. This represents a group of collections for which
additional processing should be done in order to integrate the born digital content.
In baseline processing, staff should first consult the accessioning and baseline project
documentation to determine if selected projects contain computer media. In the ACQ
record, see the TTL, MAT, and LNO fields, and in the backlog files, see the Notes field. If
collections contain computer media, staff should then consult the “Electronic Records
Media Log” documenting accessions and/or contact the appropriate staff person to
determine if the computer media has been fully accessioned and the records can be
appraised/analyzed. If born digital materials are ready for processing, staff can consult
about documentation, tools, and strategies. Computer Disks
Most electronic files in manuscript collections accessioned before 2008 came on the
standard data storage devices in use since the mid 1970s: 5 ¼ and 3 ½ inch disks, zip
disks, and compact discs (CDs). When evaluating files on these media formats, the
following instructions may best apply.
The number of disks and electronic files in a collection may determine whether you can
conduct item-level analysis. Most files on these media formats include drafts of writings
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