For institutions with little time, resources, and available expertise to consolidate or enrich a set of diverse legacy schemas across their digital newspaper collections, the most crucial step is to document existing metadata practices:
- Identify all existing metadata
- Establish the relationship between each metadata record and the digital newspaper content that it describes
- Document relationships clearly in an inventory document, spreadsheet, or collection database
- Package the inventory in a tabular format (so that it can be accessed by multiple programs)
- Store packaged inventory files with the content that it references, or in a readily identifiable folder
See more in Section 5: “Organizing Digital Newspapers for Preservation”.
When metadata is more consistent and/or supported by software systems, institutions can improve their readiness through exporting all existing metadata and packaging it in a non-proprietary XML format (if not already done), and then storing such records either in a readily identifiable folder, or in a folder with the content it describes. Institutions should also make sure that each metadata record has and retains identifiable linkages to the collection content it describes through the use of unique identifiers or other regularized mechanisms (repository software systems often assign such information).
If an institution is assembling collections from multiple units or from multiple locations/systems, it must ensure that unique identifiers will not conflict across collections.