Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories

3.6 Recommendations for Repositories

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  • Carefully review email files to identify and quarantine entire sensitive threads of sent and received messages and their attachments. Ensure that preservation and access to these messages are handled in accordance with long-term research value, all applicable laws, and provisions in your acquisition agreement.
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  • When staff, time, or technology constraints do not allow for review of sensitive email or other files, discuss restrictions on researcher access for a defined period of time with the donor or dealer.
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  • Before acquisition, ask about the presence of legally protected private files, such as confidential government files, medical records, and legal case files, and especially sensitive types of information, such as Social Security and credit card numbers.
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  • Balance the desire to capture information about the donor’s working environment and organizational strategies (via authentication and retention of original file structure and/or other means) with respect for the donor’s wishes regarding privacy and restrictions.
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  • Consider potential future use and access mechanisms when contemplating the value of disk images, deleted files, and automatically saved files.
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  • Make sure donors and dealers are aware of the different kinds of deleted information that may be present in their digital materials.
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  • Be realistic about restrictions, redaction, and the potential for sensitive material to be missed in an initial review, considering:
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    • Legal restrictions
    • Donor requests for restrictions
    • Third-party restrictions (e.g., oral histories without permission forms)
    • Technical constraints (e.g., obsolete formats, corrupted files, access problems)
    • Use restrictions (e.g., need to ensure authenticity and appropriate use by patrons)
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Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/borndigital/privacy-and-intellectual-property/recommendations-for-repositories/