My first month at KBOO was about learning about the environment: the people, institutional knowledge, working styles and interaction, informational resources, and technology support. KBOO’s specific environment is being taken into consideration so that a digital preservation project may thrive. KBOO’s current digital storage and archiving practices were evaluated in accordance to the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Levels of Digital Preservation. The NDSA’s mission is in part to advance the capacity to preserve our nation’s digital resources for the benefit of present and future generations. The five general categories of the NDSA Levels (Storage and Geographic Location, File Fixity and Data Integrity, Information Security, Metadata and File Formats) were identified as broad conceptual areas of focus for thinking through technical and immediate threats to digital preservation. My evaluation allows KBOO to understand how they are doing in terms of mitigating risk of loss, and identifies concrete next steps they can take to progress their operations to the next level.
The NDSA Levels are a great guide for evaluating digital storage options. KBOO’s digital holdings are small compared to larger television broadcast studios that typically rely on LTO or optical disk archive technology for backup of multiple, large audiovisual digital files. Cloud storage is part of KBOO’s artillery of digital preservation tools. Both AVPreserve’s Cloud Storage Vendor Profiles and the third-party report Digital Preservation and Cloud Services (Public) assess a vendor’s tool in meeting a digital archive’s requirements. While cloud storage provides some necessary features for digital preservation, it is not a digital preservation system in and of itself. Whatever functions an individual service is not meeting should be covered in institutional workflows and a combination of tools.
I’ve also been reviewing some database tools to determine which ones will meet KBOO’s needs. This past week I realized that we had a lot of database requirements (we want it all!!). Although a collection management system is the goal, I’m going back to the data to aid the prioritization of institutional needs. The descriptive metadata of KBOO’s audio materials is stored in a flat Excel spreadsheet. That descriptive metadata will to become more consistent before being imported, managed, or retrieved from any system. Currently, I am uncovering institutional memory shorthand (i.e. “AR” can mean any number of things but we mean the radio series Alternative Radio), and building structure for the audio items’ metadata. Very few items in the analog archives have clearly documented episode names or program names. However, this expected relationship is integral to keeping related parts together. A database tool will also be used to manage the parts of a whole, associating master copies with its actualities, edited copies, other dubs, and preservation digital files. An archive of 7,500 items can be browsed with facets if helpful categorizations and groupings are implemented, not to mention the delicious detail of knowing that a particular 10.5″ open reel was recorded at 7.5 ips, mono. AAPB’s pbcore spreadsheet template and the knowledge from Kara Van Malssen’s metadata webinar have been helpful in allowing me to work with flat data while documenting future structure.
Some treasures I’ve encountered so far…
- Coverage of the 1987 Conference in the Spirit of Ben Linder, organized by the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee.
- Ken Kesey reading from several books at Powell’s Books on several occasions in the 1990s.
- An address by Captain Jacques Cousteau, prepared for the Cousteau Society’s Seattle Involvement Day, October 29, 1977
- Five of the six e. e. cummings nonlectures (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)
- The year after 9-11 special programming