Institutions with more time, technical staffing, and support resources can invest more deeply in this crucial first stage of preservation readiness. Compiling a thorough and well-organized inventory of the institution’s digital newspaper assets will serve the institution well throughout the subsequent/overlapping stages of preservation readiness.
Institutions with technical resources and distributed collections may consider establishing a reliable workstation that can provide a centralized channel to all existing digital newspaper data within the institution. For collections not currently maintained on spinning disc, this workstation might also establish a staging apparatus (e.g., collections maintained on CD or external hard drive might be temporarily staged on the workstation to gather information to populate the inventory). This workstation can serve as an ongoing conduit for gathering information and producing systems-based reports of the newspaper collections and files.
If designated staff have the proper permissions and authority to perform checksum creation and to mint object identifiers, these tasks may be completed during the inventorying process. Please see Section 4: “Checksum Management for Digital Newspapers” for more details regarding file fixity checksum creation and management.
An optimal level inventory would include all those elements mentioned above under Essential Readiness but would also provide a more exhaustive overview of the collections, including:
- Changes that have taken place over time to collection files (i.e., normalization, migration, etc)
- File format types and the applications and software platforms that created them
- File fixity information (if created) as well as the hash-function algorithms used to create them (e.g., md5, sha1, sha2, etc.)
- Digital object identifiers that have been assigned (e.g., ARKS, Handles, etc.)
For institutions at mature stages of preservation readiness, much of this information may already be available in various locations and could be retrieved and incorporated into a consolidated inventory. For institutions that have not yet engaged with deeper preservation readiness activities, this information will flow out of some of the additional activities mentioned in later sections—namely Section 2: “Format Management for Digital Newspapers,” Section 3: “Metadata Packaging for Digital Newspapers,” and Section 4: “Checksum Management for Digital Newspapers”—and can be consolidated at that time.