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Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories

4.2 Communication and interaction

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Direct communication between a repository’s staff and the donor is invaluable in ensuring the preservation and access of born-digital materials. Often the donor is the only person able to answer questions about the hardware or software used to create particular files, which materials the donor intends to transfer, and issues related to privacy and sensitive information. The exact nature of these conversations may vary depending on the technical knowledge of the parties involved, but it is important to clarify and discuss issues such as:

  • 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0
  • How sensitive materials will be reviewed and screened
  • The process for restriction or redaction of private content
  • How materials will be made accessible to researchers (including whether or when they will be available online)
  • How digital materials will be stored and preserved

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The donor is also encouraged to provide repository staff with a personal computing history that details any hardware and software used and her methods of creating, storing, and maintaining digital files. The more detailed information the donor can provide the repository, the more success the repository will have in preserving born-digital materials. Similarly, repositories should consider involving suitable technical specialists from the outset, including for site visits, and before acquisition agreements are finalized.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Furthermore, if the repository intends to acquire future materials from a donor, early communication could have the residual effect of better educating the donor about preserving subsequent born-digital files. While discussing the initial transfer of digital media or files, repositories may establish and discuss protocols for future or ongoing digital acquisitions. It might also be useful for the donor to involve her own technical specialist in conversations with the repository, particularly if the donor is an organization or other entity that relies on technical staff to manage its files.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 If a donor is unavailable to discuss collection materials, a repository may consider establishing communication with others who can provide information about the born-digital materials in an acquisition; the donor’s estate, family, or associates are potential sources of assistance. Sometimes, particularly in the case of media and files created long ago by a donor who is now unreachable, it will not be possible for repositories to learn more about the digital materials in a collection.

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Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/borndigital/key-stages-in-acquiring-digital-materials/communication-and-interaction/