By Michael Shallcross
Bentley Historical Library
The Bentley Historical Library has received a $355,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to partner with the U-M Library in the development of an end-to-end digital archives workflow.
The workflow will facilitate the ingest, description and overall curation of digital archives by U-M and the archival community at large. In this context, the term "ingest" connotes the archives' receipt of materials from a donor, their validation, and preparing the content for long-term preservation.
The proper management of archives in the digital era involves traditional archival principles and skills, as well as tools and specialized procedures to ensure the authenticity and integrity of content such as audio, video, image, and text files.
While the archives and digital preservation communities have made great strides in producing standards, best practices, and resources to address these challenges, a 2012 Association of Research Libraries survey found that 43 percent of respondents have not developed workflows for the ingest and processing of born-digital materials due to such obstacles as the selection of appropriate tools, staff training, and development of policies and procedures.
Funding from the Mellon Foundation will permit the Bentley and U-M libraries to develop standards-based ingest and processing workflows and also enhance the interoperability of three open-source software systems: ArchivesSpace, Archivematica, and DSpace.
The project seeks to facilitate the creation and reuse of metadata among these platforms and at the same time streamline the ingest and deposit of fully processed materials into a digital preservation repository.
By sharing the results of this project with the archives and digital preservation communities, the Bentley and U-M libraries seek to advance professional best practices and continue the university's long tradition of excellence in the fields of archives and digital preservation.