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Showing posts from July, 2018

Checksum or Fixity? Which tool is for me?

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The digital preservation community are in agreement that file fixity and data integrity are important. Indeed there is a whole row devoted to this in the NDSA Levels of Preservation . But how do we all do it? There are many tools out there - see for example those listed in COPTR . It was noted in the  NDSA Fixity Survey Report of 2017  that there isn't really a consensus on how checksums are created and verified across the digital preservation community. Many respondents to the survey also gave the impression that current procedures were a work in progress and that other options should be explored. From the conclusion of the report: "Respondents also talked frequently about improvements they wanted to make, such as looking for new tools, developing workflows, and making other changes to their fixity activities. It may be useful, then, for practitioners to think of their fixity practices within a maturity or continuous improvement model; digital preservation practitione

Some observations on digital appraisal

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A couple of months ago I attended a Jisc sponsored workshop at the University of Westminster on digital appraisal. There were some useful presentations and discussions on a topic that I find both interesting and challenging. Within the workshop I made the point that my approaches to some elements of digital appraisal may differ depending on the age of the born digital material I'm looking at. For example, I may wish to take a firm line about removing modern system generated files such as Thumbs.db files and Apple Resource Forks  that come into the archives - my reasons being that this is not really the content that the donor or depositor intended to give us, rather an artifact of the computer system that they were using. However I also stated that for an older born digital archive I am much more reluctant to weed out system files or software. It seems easy to weed out things that you recognise and understand - as is often the case with contemporary digital archives - but f

Accessibility and usability report for AtoM

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Earlier this year I blogged about our recent upgrade to AtoM 2.4  and hinted at a follow up post on the subject of usability and accessibility. AtoM is our Archives Management System and as well as being a system that staff use to enter information about the archives that we hold, it is also the means by which our users find out about our holdings. We care very much what our users think of it. When we first released the Borthwick Catalogue  (using AtoM 2.2) back in 2016 we were lucky enough to have some staff resource available to carry out a couple of rounds of user testing - this user testing is documented here and here . We knew that some of the new features of AtoM 2.4 would help address issues that were raised by our users in these earlier tests. The addition of ‘shopping bag’ functionality in the form of the new clipboard feature, and the introduction of an advanced search by date range being two notable examples. We did not have the capacity to carry out a similar user t