Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories

2.1.2 Collection survey

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 A collection survey is a process by which repository staff members gather information about a collection, including the quantity, forms, condition, and location of digital materials. There are two main strategies for conducting surveys of born-digital materials prior to acquisition: an on-site viewing, conducted in person, and a remote preview conducted over the Internet, via phone, or by some other method.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 On-site assessment has several advantages, particularly when the proposed acquisition comprises a considerable amount of material. On-site surveys usually take place wherever a donor works or collection material is stored and may involve:

  • 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0
  • Preliminary evaluation and discussion of a donor’s born-digital materials
  • An integrated survey of the digital and paper portions of the proposed acquisition or independent assessments of the two components at different times
  • Copying the donor’s files or directory structures for further evaluation upon return to the repository, where staff will have more time and possibly additional tools at their disposal

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Before a repository considers copying a donor’s files for the purpose of later assessment, staff will want to work with the donor to put in place an agreement that specifies how the files will be copied, stored, and securely deleted in the event that either party decides not to proceed with the acquisition or the repository needs to re-capture copies of the original materials.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 In situations where a donor and collection materials are located some distance from a repository, conducting a survey remotely might make more sense than doing a site visit. Likewise, repositories in geographically isolated locations or with small travel budgets may need to evaluate materials remotely. Remote surveys can be conducted via email or other means of communication. One strategy is to send a formal survey tool (e.g., a list of initial questions developed by a repository) to a donor via email or postal mail, ask the donor to respond, and then continue the conversation through a further exchange of letters, emails, or telephone calls. A remote survey might also include a document created by the dealer or donor that lists number and type of digital media and provides a general characterization of the contents. Alternatively, a donor might provide a repository with access over the Internet, via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or secure peer-to-peer communication providing remote access to the donor’s desktop. This approach could allow staff to preview the files in order to generate a survey, discuss the logistics of a possible transfer, and decide whether to make the acquisition.

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Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/borndigital/initial-collection-review/preliminary-assessment-of-digital-media-and-files/collection-survey/?replytopara=3