Before we moved into production, the Digital Preservation Unit engaged in years of research based on the content of our collections. The biggest research projects in this area included:
A 2013 project based on the OCLC Research report, "You've Got to Walk Before You Can Run," which outlines the digital contents of the Robert Altman archive and possible approaches to its preservation. The deliverable of this project was the report "The Robert Altman Archive Digital Physical Media Collection," authored by U-M School of Information graduate student Jennifer Kremyar.
That 2013 project was followed by an over year-long study examining more specific requirements for media preservation conducted by post-doctoral researcher Anthea Josias. This project cumulated in the 2015 report, "Integrating Forensics Tools into Digital Preservation Workflows for Born-Digital Media," and deals with building proper technical environments for this type of content. Our workflow design and equipment purchases were, and continue to be, greatly informed by this document.
Forensic imaging metadata
As we moved into workflow design, it became apparent that tools used for this work do not automatically create certain types of metadata that we feel are necessary, particularly preservation information around how we engage with the material (in other words, PREMIS event metadata).
U-M School of Information graduate students Kayla Carucci and Noa Kasman created a report documenting our initial metadata decisions, while tying them to standards such as PREMIS. Although the specific metadata we use in our imaging now differs slightly than what is outlined in this report, it is still an accurate reflection of our philosophy on preservation metadata for born-digital assessing and the creation of forensic disk images.
We will continue to post outputs from our research as they become available.