Showing posts from May, 2013

Assessing the value of digital surrogates

I had an interesting meeting with colleagues yesterday to discuss how we manage digital surrogates - digitised versions of physical items we hold in the archives. At the Borthwick Institute we do a fair amount of digitisation for a variety of reasons. These range from the large scale digitisation projects such as the York Cause Papers , to digitisation to create images for publications and exhibitions to single pages of Parish Registers for family history researchers. As I am in the process of setting up a digital archive for the Borthwick Institute, effectively managing these digital surrogates also becomes my concern. The need to preserve these items is not as pressing as for born digital data (because they are only copies, not originals) however, to start to build up the collections that we have in digital form, to allow access to users who can not visit our searchroom, and to avoid having to carry out the same work twice, appropriate creation and management of this data is importan

Some thoughts about our preservation policy

We are updating the Borthwick Institute's preservation policy . Originally written in 2007, it is due for review by our preservation archivist and conservation team but my interest in this task is to ensure that digital archives are represented within the policy. In the current policy there is no mention of the preservation of digital archives. There was no need for us to mention them six years ago but times are changing - this has now become a priority for us. It was interesting having the opportunity to sit down and read our existing preservation policy. The only other preservation policies I had ever read up to this point (not that many of them I might add) related purely to digital material so had quite a different emphasis. As I am still quite new to the world of traditional archives, reading about everything that is in place to protect and preserve the documents in our care is an education for me. The first question in my head is whether to crack on with this now or wait unti