1. Select and transfer

This workflow describes the process of selecting the content and obtaining it from the depositor. If there are any terms that you are unfamiliar with on this page, please refer to the glossary for the most common terms used in digital preservation.

1.1 Set up equipment

This is an essential step

  • Set up a dedicated PC to connect to any storage media holding the digital content. Ideally, only connect it your organisation’s systems / internet to perform essential updates to systems.
  • You will need equipment to read various types of media you will work with. For example:
    • Readers for DVDs / CDs and floppy disks (particularly 3.5″, 51/4″ and 3″). You may wish to look at Kryoflux if you want to read floppy disks.
    • Zip drives, tape drives and a caddy for internal hard drives.
    • See Appendix C for photographs (available in the Workflows guidance Word or PDF document on the main Workflows page).
  • You can use write blockers to prevent changes to the content – especially when using hard drives or floppy disks. The type needed will depend on the media you want to read.
  • You may receive content internally or by email / the internet and will require a PC with access to your organisation’s systems / internet. Alternatively, use an external hard drive for transfer.
  • You may also wish to look at using encryption software such as VeraCrypt, on the hard drive of the PC and external hard drives, especially if you work with sensitive content.

Software

Further guidance

1.2 Select and appraise

This is an essential step

  • Your organisation’s collection policy should determine selection – the Digital Preservation Coalition Handbook gives a good overview of the key things to consider.
  • Ensure that any information from the depositor about Intellectual Property Rights and access restrictions is captured at this stage.
  • You could ask the depositor to create a list of the content that is being transferred (they could use the software below to do this).
  • At this stage you may wish to carry out appraisal of the content (although this can be done at a later stage – see step 2.5). The Paradigm project offers a good summary of the issues around digital appraisal.
  • Create an accession number which will be later used in step 2 (Ingest).
  • Create a folder on the PC (e.g. using the accession number for the folder title). You may wish to create subfolders – one for the content (e.g. called “content”) and one for any documentation about the content (e.g. called “metadata”).

Software

Further guidance

1.3 Virus check

This is an essential step

  • Place the media into the appropriate reader or port (remember to use a write blocker).
  • If possible, scan the content for viruses using anti-virus software on the media before transferring them (see step 1.5).
  • Remove any infected content and decide on action e.g. repair or contact the depositor for clean copies.
  • You could leave (quarantine) the content on your PC for 30 days and then re-scan them for viruses before proceeding to step 2 (Ingest). Alternatively if you virus check with two different types of anti-virus software to reduce the risk of missing any viruses.
  • Following the quarantine period you may wish to check the checksums created at step 1.4.
  • Keep a record of what virus checks you have undertaken (e.g. save any report the software generates in the “metadata folder”).

Software

  • Use the anti-virus software your organisation subscribes to or use free anti-virus software such as ClamAV or AVG

Further guidance

1.4 Transfer

This is an essential step

  • Transfer the digital content from the media to the “content” folder on the PC using copying software (see below). This software helps ensure important information such as dates are not changed. Some software will also check identical complete copies were made.
  • Some archives ask the depositor to use software such as Bagger or Exactly to transfer content over the internet or on a portable storage device.
  • Disk imaging is an alternative to copying the content. Software, such as FTK Imager Lite, can create an exact copy of the contents of the media, including original metadata.

Software

Copying software

Disk imaging software

Content transfer software

Further guidance

1.5 Create checksums

This is an essential step

  • If you or the depositor created checksums before the transfer then they should be checked afterwards to ensure they remained the same.
  • If not, use software (see below) to create checksums and if possible save them with the content (e.g. in the “metadata” folder for the accession).
  • The National Archives currently uses a type of checksum called SHA-256. However, other archives use a MD5 checksum.
  • At this point you may want to create a copy of the content that will be used for the steps outlined in section 2 (sometimes called a “working copy”). This will reduce the risk of the content being changed.

Software

Further guidance

For the next stage of the digital preservation workflow, head over to the Ingest page.