Hi Will,

I recommend the NDSA's "Levels of Digital Preservation" for practical, incremental steps you can take to improve how you store and handle digital data.

First step: "get the content off the medium and into your storage system" (on networked disk that is backed up.)

Another important early step is to think about what you're saving, why you're saving it, and what value it has for people inside and outside your institution. Being able to talk about the scope and value of your digital files is a critical step in making a case for a digital archiving budget > $0!

Good luck,

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Will Martin
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 10:41 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Archival File Storage

As with most libraries, we're accumulating an increasing number of digital holdings.  So far, our approach to storing these files consists of a haphazard cocktail of:

- A ContentDM site whose contents haven't been updated in three years
- live network storage in the form of shared drives
- a Drobo
- CDs and DVDs
- hard drives stored in static-proof bags, and
- ancient floppy disks whose contents remain a mystery that would surely scour the last vestiges of sanity from our minds if we had a 5 1/4" 
drive to read them with.

In short it's a mess that has evolved organically over a long period of time.  I'm not entirely sure what to do about it, especially considering our budget for improving the situation is ... uh, zero.

At the very least, I'd like a better sense for what is considered a good approach to storing archival files.  Can anyone recommend any relevant best practices or standards documents?  Or just share what you use.

I'm familiar with the OAIS model for digital archiving, and it seems well thought-out, but highly abstract.  A more practical nuts-and-bolts guide would be helpful.


Will Martin

Web Services Librarian
University of North Dakota