During a recent digital preservation meeting, our conservator, Melissa, brought up the need to safeguard our treatment documentation now that the written and photographic parts are electronic. Currently, all documentation is managed through an Access database and stored on a networked drive. According to the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), proper storage, backup and active management of these records is essential for long-term preservation. The AIC Guide to Digital Photography and Conservation Documentation even provides some basic background information on hardware, software, standard practices and terminology. Let’s just make it easy and say we want to meet National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Levels of Digital Preservation.
So the first question to you all is: how have you gone about doing this? Is this an activity that you have charged your IT department or Archives with managing? Does this process at least meet NDSA Level 1?
The Access database is a fine management tool to organize all of our treatment reports and their accompanying images, but it is not that easy to guide the user or the curator to treatment reports. Do you use local bibliographic records to indicate the existence of treatment reports, or perhaps a content management system that links directly to treatment reports from the item records?
Finally, even though the cost of storage space continues to decrease, the cost still exists and it is not simply the cost of the storage device. Our campus IT charges us for space which does not include digital preservation services. Considering how large TIFF and RAW (or DNG) files are, how difficult RAW files are to use and the fact that they are proprietary, have you chosen to keep all RAW files? DNG files? What was your rationale in making this decision? What does the cost benefit analysis and future use of these image files look like?
Sharing your experience with managing electronic treatment documentation and decision making would be greatly appreciated.