Essential Readiness

As mentioned in Section 5: “Organizing Digital Newspapers for Preservation” as well as above, institutions with less resources to put behind packaging their digital newspapers according to high-bar standards, the goal should be to document collection structures and how these can and should be re-constituted in the event of loss or corruption. In addition to the documentation efforts recommended in Section 1: “Inventorying Digital Newspapers for Preservation,” some additional factors to be considered in the creation of such documentation include:

  1. Document where and on what media the master preservation copies for any given collection currently reside at the local institution;
  2. Document any preferred form of media or means for receiving back preservation copies for the sake of a recovery & restoration (SFTP, hard drive, CD, DVD, etc.);
  3. Document instructions on how to work with the above-mentioned media or mechanism to retrieve preservation copies from a local preservation system or an external preservation service provider;
  4. Document step-by-step instructions for how to restore collections from their preservation copies (including how to make use of any previously developed inventories and/or assigned digital object identifiers or globally unique identifiers); and
  5. Document guidance on how to produce derivative access copies from restored preservation copies (in case access copies are lost or are not preserved)

This documentation should be produced and saved in an open and non-proprietary file format (Open Document FormatPDF, or even a simple TXT file could suffice). It can and should be stored in its own clearly labeled folder or alongside the collection folders in the fashion of a README with its own clearly labeled filename.

Once an institution has documented its digital newspaper collections for packaging purposes, the institution can consider encapsulating its digital newspaper collections in a lossless archival packaging format.

The easiest and most reliable packaging format for less-resourced institutions to begin working with is TAR. Packaging digital newspaper collections as TAR files can facilitate the management of digital newspaper collections as units of related data within an archival storage environment and across migrations of storage media over time. Institutions creating a TAR package for digital newspapers should consider doing so at whatever level of aggregate is most representative of their intellectual organizations and structures—be that at a title, volume, or issue level. They should also clearly label the TAR file without overwriting its extension. Consider some of the file-naming conventions provided in Section 5: “Organizing Digital Newspapers for Preservation.”