Essential Readiness

An institution should consider the inventorying process as an ongoing activity that will require institutional planning, clearly assigned roles, coordination between curators and technical staff (where applicable), and on-going analysis and quality control.

A key first step for institutions of all types and sizes is to begin a planning phase. For very small institutions and/or collections, one person may undertake this planning step alone. Larger institutions likely will need to arrange a planning meeting that assembles the range of digital newspaper curators and stakeholders across the institution. The goal of this planning is to gather and share information about the range of current and legacy content and processes  that impact the acquisition and storage of digital newspaper content over time.

Even though an institution may face short-term barriers to inventory creation (e.g., a shortage of in-house technical expertise), collection curator(s) at almost any institution should be able to complete the following essential tasks in preservation readiness.

  1. Identify the institution’s digital newspaper collections
  2. Produce a text document, spreadsheet, or database inventory document within which information about the collections may be recorded
  3. Document basic information including newspaper titles, file counts, file locations (i.e., storage media), and file names. This may be accomplished manually if necessary with the help of various file manager programs (e.g.,  Nautilus for Linux, Finder for Mac, or Windows Explorer for Windows, etc.)
  4. Date stamp and record the version of the inventory document

This essential stage of the inventory process gives a curator the opportunity to experiment with inventory applications and formats that can later extend to accommodate the fuller range of information elements desired and enable the necessary access to and update of data over time (see <a href=""

target=”_blank”>CDL’s starter inventory).

2 thoughts on “Essential Readiness

  1. Should the guidelines suggest a minimal set of fields to include in an inventory? (File Location, Folder, Object ID, Filename, Newspaper Title, Date, volume, issue, page, format, URL, etc.). Or, suggest a resource that could help with this practice? 

    1. This is a great comment–check out the next paragraph down (para 5). The link there is an example of a starter inventory. Are there other resources you know of that would be useful alongside/instead of CDL’s document?

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