Appraisal Actions and Decisions

On February 15, 2010, in Research, by Chris Prom

After I spoke at the Society of Archivists’ Data Standards Group, a member of the audience asked if I have been working to evaluate sofware suitable for appraising records, i.e. helping archivists or producers select records for deposit into a trusted digital repository.  At the time I responded (somewhat off the cuff) that I had found particular file managers, renames, and bulk deletion programs to be useful, but that I hadn’t really considered the question all that much.

But as I reflected on it later, the  question seemed to grow more complex.  Most, if not all,  of the development work concerning digital repositories focuses on meeting the requirements of the OAIS reference model.  However, the reference model itself has nothing to say about how records should be selected for deposit.  On one hand, this makes sense, since each archives has a different focus.  But  appraisal (i.e. the selection of records for inclusion in an archives) has always been the most debated (or at least most heavily written about) archival topics.

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