Digital preservation encompasses all necessary processes that ensure the long-term accessibility of digital records as well as surrogates produced to preserve analog records. The complex nature of digital records dictates several differences between the preservation of digital and analog materials.
The Society of American Archivists defines a Digital Record [Electronic Record] as, “Data or information that has been captured and fixed for storage and manipulation in an automated system and that requires the use of the system to render it intelligible by a person.” In the context of RMA, this capture also includes the preservation and accessibility of related metadata.
Faculty, staff as well as external parties are authorized to transfer digital records to RMA in the context of the Digital Preservation Strategy (DPS, detailed below) and in consultation with RMA staff. The use of transferred materials by future researchers is ensured by RMA when those materials meet certain criteria and align with specific file formats. The RMA File Format Policy Registry and RMA File Format Policy Registry Levels of Support contain these criteria and specifications and further information on the transfer of digital records.
The RMA Digital Preservation Lab opened in Fall, 2020 on the SGW campus in the basement of the Faubourg Building (FB) and is connected to a Digital Preservation Conference Room, the RMA Processing Room, Reading Room, and Vault. The aim of the Lab is to enable open-source (accessible, modifiable) applications as often as possible.
Records Management and Archives
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