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What We Do With Your Files

What...

Once we’ve agreed to take a deposit of material there are a number of stages involved in processing a collection of digital files so that they can be preserved and, subject to access conditions, made available to the public.

Why...

These processes help us to manage and make sense of the collections and ensure that we are laying the foundations for the appropriate management of the material we are responsible for.

How...

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Transfer

  • We will ask you to sign a transfer agreement and confirm a mutually acceptable date of transfer as well as an appropriate method of transfer (dependent on the size and nature of your material).
  • On completion of the transfer we shall provide you with an acknowledgement of receipt.
  • We will accession your material. This is the process which archives use to get intellectual control of material coming into the collections. We create a formal record of the receipt of the material and list briefly what it consists of.
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Appraisal

  • Once it is formally documented we will assess the material and ensure there are no duplicate files, no irrelevant files which have been accidentally included and no encryption or password protection.
  • We shall make sure the material conforms to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). This means we need to know if there is any personal information included in the deposit. It doesn’t mean we can’t add the material to our archives but we need to ensure we manage it appropriately.
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Processing

  • Once we are happy that the material can be formally ingested into our digital archive we shall begin processing the data. This includes:
    • Creating and recording a unique code relating to the file’s content. This code (called a checksum) can warn us if any changes have taken place to the content which will be highlighted by a change from the first recorded version of the code.
    • Anti-virus check & quarantine.
    • Analysing what kind of file formats we are dealing with.
    • Creating an appropriate access version of the file.
    • Recording technical details about the file and documenting all the processes that it has undergone.
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Metadata

  • As we process the collection we shall also be creating catalogue records containing descriptive and administrative information (metadata) to help with the management of the material. We need to make sure that all the material which is deposited with us can be discovered by researchers, members of the public, internal staff – indeed anyone who might have an interest in it.
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Presentation & Delivery

  • The catalogue entry along with the access copies of the material (assuming there are no access restrictions) are made available to the public.
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Preservation

  • We actively preserve the authenticity, integrity, reliability and usability of your data using a variety of tools and techniques against two types of threats; loss of the medium (physical loss or corruption of the bitstreams) and loss of the message (loss of the means of correctly interpreting the bitstreams as information we can understand).
    • Bitstream preservation - we keep multiple copies of your deposit, on multiple storage technology, in multiple, secure locations. This ensures we have a suitable degree of redundancy. We regularly check the integrity of these copies using the information we captured during our initial processing.
    • We also monitor the technology required to access digital files and plan as best we can for any changes that might affect the ability to access them in the future.