Work in Progress

Collection Development
Being part of the AIMS project has given us the confidence to take in more digital collections, and we now ask new and existing depositors if they have digital material as a matter of course. This has already led to a few digital deposits which we hope to begin processing shortly.

  • As part of the processes we have developed, we now photograph each media item when we receive it (see our blog entry on photography of media)
  • If we cannot provide an access copy of the material immediately we replace the item with an insertion sheet [243kb, PDF] which gives brief details of the item and reason for removing it - this is useful for both staff and users.
  • We also produce a processing plan [208kb, PDF] for each new digital accession (though not for individual items) which collates information gathered in several spreadsheets and provides documentation on how we plan to catalogue the material, what appraisal should take place etc. This is a useful mechanism to capture the information and provides guidance when the team comes to catalogue the material further down the line.

Much of our work has been in this area and we have developed workflows to guide staff through the processes for dealing with legacy media discovered within existing paper collections and entirely digital accessions.

  • We set up a forensic workstation which we have named HAROLD (Hull Archives Recovery of Legacy Data) using an old PC we were lucky enough to acquire. For the whole story see our series of blog entries: part 1 (background) and part 2 (re-purposing an old PC). A new machine has been ordered to handle large volume of material including PC and laptop hard drives. 
  • We set up the relevant write-blocker, insert the media and perform various procedures (as described in part 3 of our blog). See below for a simplified version of our workflow:
    write-block > virus scan 1 > FTK Imager > Karen's Directory Printer manifest > Virus scan 2 (31 days after scan 1) Hull History Centre digital media
  • We create logical disk images of each item (not true forensic disk images; we only want the files that our depositors have explicitly agreed to transfer) as well as manifests. We also use the DROID tool to check file types and Karen's Directory Printer to create checksums. The supporting metadata and documentation for each item is gathered and stored together - we anticipate that this will form part of the 'bag' that we will ingest into Fedora.
  • Check the links page for more info on these tools.

Arrangement & Description
We are currently applying the same procedures for arrangement and description of born-digital material as we do for paper archives and entering details onto our CALM system. The AIMS digital archivists identified a gap with current tools so we defined the requirements for a new tool that we called Hypatia.

  • We hope this will allow us to arrange and describe born-digital material in Fedora through a drag’n’drop interface designed to accommodate the large volume of material that can add a relationship between files – once in Fedora there is no need to physically move the assets.
  • We also need to consider applying access conditions and permissions to a single file, series of files or the entire collection

Discovery & Access
This is still a work in progress and not all of our born-digital collections are currently available to access. We are looking at providing access to some born-digital materials via a locked-down PC in the archives searchroom.

We intend to use the University of Hull's institutional repository Hydra (which is a Fedora based repository, using the Hydra Project open source software and the Blacklight interface) and we hope to work on a proof-of-concept web interface to access born-digital archival material this year 

Idiots Guides
We have a produced a number of guides as an in-house guide to using particular hardware including our Forensic Workstation (465kb, PDF) and Tableau write blockers (499kb, PDF) and software, including FTK Imager (535kb, PDF),  Karen's Directory Printer (756kb, PDF), DROID (535kb, PDF). These are very much work in-progress, but hope they are of interest!


For more information please see our pages on dissemination and collaboration with other institutions and useful links, or go back to born digital archives.