Arrangement and Description of Digital Records: Part I

Certificate Eligibility: 
Certificate Eligibility: 
5 ARC, 0.75 CEU
1 day
Max Attendees: 

This one-day course introduces you to processing strategies that are applicable to born-digital records, with an emphasis on basic concepts that archivists use to establish descriptive control over digital content. You’ll learn about standards and tools that can be used to implement an integrated processing strategy. You’ll also participate in a set of instructor–led exercises that arrange and describe some digital records in ways that maintain the integrity and authenticity of the digital records. A laptop with wireless connectivity is required to participate in this course, and you must have the ability to install and use open-source software on that laptop.


In the morning, you’ll review the unique processing challenges posed by digital records before undertaking a detailed discussion on how standards, protocols, and best practices can help you address those challenges. In the afternoon, you will explore the applicability of Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) to digital records and manuscripts. The instructor will demonstrate the use of basic tools that implement descriptive standards and best practices, leading you in a processing exercise that results in the generation of an archival information packet for some relatively homogeneous records. The day will conclude with a discussion of lessons learned and next steps to be taken, considering individual repository needs.

Learning Outcomes: 
List the major processing challenges posed by digital records
Suggest strategies to mitigate them
Identify the elements of an integrated arrangement and descriptive program for digital materials
Describe the major standards supporting descriptive systems for digital materials
Identify basic tools that will help you to arrange and describe born–digital records
Who Should Attend?: 

Repository managers, archivists, practitioners, and anyone responsible for the arrangement and description of digital records

What You Should Already Know: 

Registrants should have basic knowledge about digital preservation strategies.

This course builds on others, such as Basics of Managing Digital Records and Digital Records—The Next Step.

DAS Core Competency: 
1. Explain the nature of digital records and their lifecycle.
3. Formulate strategies and tactics for appraising, acquiring, describing, managing, organizing, preserving, and delivering digital archives.
4. Incorporate technologies throughout the archival lifecycle.
A&D Core Competency: 
1. Arrangement: Understand the process of organizing materials with respect to their provenance and original order to protect their context and facilitate access.
2. Description: Analyze and describe details about the attributes of a record or collection of records to facilitate identification, management, and understanding of the work.
3. Descriptive Standards: Apply rules and practices that codify the content of information used to represent archival materials in discovery tools according to published structural guidelines.
4. Management: Demonstrate ability to manage physical and intellectual control over archival materials.
5. Discovery: Create tools to facilitate access and disseminate descriptive records of archival materials.
6. Ethics: Convey transparency of actions taken during arrangement and description and respect privacy, confidentiality, and cultural sensitivity of archival materials.
7. Risk Management: Analyze threats and implement measures to minimize ethical and institutional risks.
"This course did an outstanding job of organizing and pulling together many separate pieces that are discussed/written about. It proposes how they can work together, in what sequence. It really showed me the big picture. It was also very practical, here is how you can accomplish the "theory". The tools were very helpful, just didn't have enough time to go through them all. Of all the DAS courses I've taken, this is the single one I would make mandatory. It pulls many of them together."
"I thought the broad overview of concepts and theory was very good as well as the accessioning side of the process. It gave a good picture of why we should do preservation metadata; the OAIS repository structure and practical examples of its components; and easy ways to implement an acceptable workflow cheaply."
“This course was a great introduction to various tools. I really benefited from the description of the SIP & AIP process with a correlation to existing tools for accomplishing the work.”
"Seeing the AIP suggested template was most helpful--made tangible many of the OAIS concepts that we had been learning about in previous classes. I also appreciated the time we had to try out the different tools to see which would work best for our own workflows."
“The walk-through of the OAIS components was very helpful; I really got a good sense of how to put together SIPS & AIPS to preserve authenticity & context of records.”
"The information that the course relayed to me was new and interesting. Expanding my horizons as an archivist is important to me; this class challenged me to understand new ideas and concepts. It is unclear at this time whether or not I will be able to implement them practically as my institution does not actively solicit digital records or actively maintain them in our Special Collections. It is nice to know that I can provide useful information when we begin that process."
Co-Sponsor Provides: 
  • Classroom: 6-foot tables with two chairs each or 8-foot tables with three chairs each
  • LCD projector and replacement bulb for the LCD projector
  • Projection screen
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Coffee/tea/water for morning break
  • Water/assorted soft drinks for afternoon break