Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories

Appendix A: Preparing for the Unexpected

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Donors, dealers, and repositories can anticipate and prepare for the complexities of transferring, managing, and preserving born-digital and hybrid collections. The following table organizes select recommendations from the report across the categories of policy, collaboration, preparation, and documentation.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0


Donors and Dealers



  • 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0
  • Know whether your digital files may include the intellectual property of people other than the creator or donor of the materials.
  • Know the circumstances under which the material was created. Was it part of your work? Your research? Your personal correspondence?
  • 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0
  • Develop policies for the retention and disposal of files and digital media.
  • Balance desire to gather information about donor’s working environment with need to respect donor privacy and wishes.
  • Develop strategies to manage restriction, redaction, and discovery of sensitive material that may have been overlooked in initial review.


  • 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0
  • Ask repositories for guidance and documentation.If possible, establish direct communication between the donor and repository staff to facilitate understanding.
  • Discuss the overall process, timetable, and likely outcomes with repository staff.
  • Inform the repository of the presence of legally protected private files, such as medical records, and especially sensitive types of information, such as Social Security numbers.
  • Involve technical (IT) or legal support people in the process, if needed and/or suggested by the repository staff.
  • 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0
  • Prior to acquisition, gather information about archives containing born-digital content.
  • Share documentation with donors and dealers.
  • Clarify expectations regarding digital preservation and access.


  • 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0
  • Consider the amount of time available to understand, and contribute fully, to the process of transferring the digital material.
  • Decide which content you want to transfer to the repository.
  • Do not manipulate, extract, or copy data from its original source before offering the material for gift or purchase; or do so in consultation with repository staff.
  • Most donors will want to screen email files for sensitive and/or extraneous messages; do so in consultation with repository staff.
  • Work closely with the repository to ensure that digital media are packed and shipped in a way that guarantees their safe arrival.
  • Be prepared for the copying and transfer of your files to take time.
  • 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0
  • Consider potential future use when assessing the value of disk images, deleted files, and automatically saved files.
  • Assess the collection’s location and complexity, need for ongoing communication, and possibility of remote acquisition.
  • Conduct a digital records survey.
  • Determine how digital materials will be transferred to the repository.
  • Establish a process for screening email for sensitive messages.
  • Consider embargo as alternative when staff, time, or technology constraints do not permit intensive screening.


  • 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0
  • Prior to transfer, determine which files need to be restricted or redacted and the terms. Give this information to the repository.
  • Identify areas of concern to flag for repository staff.
  • Carefully review all agreements.
  • 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0
  • Address born-digital materials in the acquisition agreement or contract.
  • Document whether a donor can provide another copy of her digital files to a different repository.
  • Develop and distribute guidelines for the transfer of digital files.
  • Clearly define which materials are to be included in the acquisition.
  • Document how to handle sensitive information included in the collection.
  • Document the handling of passwords, encryption, and deleted content.
  • Document what type of access users may have to processed collections.


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Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/borndigital/appendix-a-preparing-for-the-unexpected/