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Special Interest Group Archive: Digitization 6/25/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

Notes from June 25, 2020 Digitization SIG / HRVH Users Group

HRVH News:


-- The HRVH website is going to remain. It’s going to become a portal to our online exhibitions, newspaper portal, and our digital collections in NY Heritage. It’s been redesigned now.


Southeastern’s Digital Dark Archive:


Jen provided information on Southeastern's Digital Dark Archive service.


-- When HRVH was started, it was created as an access project. CONTENTdm hosts "access/web" file formats: JPEGs, JP2, MP3s, etc. We didn't have the capacity back then to store and manage "master/archival" files (TIFFs, WAVs, etc.).

-- The preservation of digital objects can be intimidating and complex for all of us!

-- Sometimes files go missing or become corrupted. Southeastern wanted to do something to help our members with the preservation side of digitization. We have a new add-on service called the Digital Dark Archive (DDA).

-- Essentially, you provide Southeastern the master files for your digital projects, and we store them long-term. You should still keep copies on your local systems -- the DDA is an emergency back-up. (More training on digital preservation and using the DDA will be forthcoming!) 

-- There are a lot of processes involved in digital preservation systems / workflows. A lot of different pieces of technology are needed:  ingest, processing, access, storage, maintenance, etc. 

-- Archivematica is a digital preservation tool that performs a lot of processes: duplicating and verifying files, extracting and creating technical/preservation metadata and packaging that information together. We use Archivematica to create packages of files and metadata, and then we store everything in Amazon Glacier. 

-- Digital POWRR has some great training surrounding digital preservation. Their webinar series is available here:

-- We will store copies of files you have in New York Heritage in Amazon Glacier for free (up to 500GB).

-- Ideally, we want master files that are open (or otherwise stable) formats (tiff, wav, PDFs). 

-- We can also store files beyond NYH items. There are tiered fees based on file storage. More info here:

-- Contributing files to the Dark Archive should be easy moving forward, if you build it into your project workflow.

-- It’s helpful to organize your files in a way that makes it easy to provide us the tifs (or master files). Be sure to plan a file directory structure that keeps master files separate from access files. For example, have a JPEG folder and a TIFF folder within the project folder.

-- Submissions can be project-based, format-based or by other meaningful units. 

-- Communication is really key! It’s important for institutions to keep track of the items they’ve put in the dark archive. Southeastern keeps track of all documentation related to a submission. It’s available on google drive & is accessible by Southeastern and the institution. 

-- The DDA is not publicly accessible - only Zack really has access to the system (Archivematica and Glacier).. It’s only really meant to be accessed in case of emergency (if all other copies have been lost). 

-- This service can fit within a digital preservation plan at your institution. As a baseline, it’s recommended to have 2 copies of files with one stored off-site, 3 copies (stored on two different storage media, with one off-site) are better. But you do what you can with the resources you have.

--  It might be a bit challenging to go backwards and locate/prepare files from past projects for submitting to the Dark Archive, but it is doable if you want to take the time.

-- A good first step is to create an inventory of everything you have digitized. You might have files stored on a combination of external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, Google drive, DropBox, etc. They might be found in various directories on your network and/or computer(s). Create a spreadsheet of past projects that includes file formats, number of files and location of files.

-- Southeastern will be hosting webinars and meetings on digital preservation more broadly in the coming year.


Questions / Comments:


One college recently migrated to a new website and didn’t retain historic photos. How can this be prevented? 

-- Communication! Establish relationships with different departments on campus. Let them know you are interesting in working together to store/manage campus photos.


Images are only a small part of what we have.. Can transcripts be included? Databases?

--The Digital Archive does support other file types beyond images. Yes, to transcripts. Let’s talk about databases - maybe.


Need to figure out how to accept digital donations. In the past, people used to drop off boxes of stuff. 

--This is a big change going forward. People are leaving behind digital materials. It’s important for people to be aware that these materials can be archived, and to know the appropriate place to bring them.

--Need to establish policies, procedures, workflows for acquiring and managing digital content.


People create great content all the time, but sometimes we don’t always think of it being worthy of preserved. There are a lot of great things hidden on hard drives. 

--This is why it’s important to know everything that you have! 

-- Shared drives are really important to keep track of museum exhibits and graphics. We create a lot of digital files when we create physical exhibits. It’s good information. How can this information be saved/shared? Create online exhibits!


Southeastern meetings will continue online for the foreseeable future. How often does this group want to meet? Would you like open discussions or have focused training? 

-- A combination! If there is something we should hear about, this is a useful forum with that. If it’s included in the SIG description, people can make a choice to attend. 

-- Can have occasional open calls for general discussion. 


Tentative date August 13th for next meeting.  

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065