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Five years ago, at the Getty Research Institute, we implemented the Ex Libris product Rosetta to preserve and provide access to our digital collections, mainly digitized resources from the Institutional Archives and Special Collections, reusing workflows from our former DAM to create METS records and populate the system. Over time it became clear that new processes were required for born-digital material and, furthermore, we would need to accommodate the contrasting needs of Special Collections and Institutional Archives to preserve their born-digital content. For these reasons we have adjusted those original workflows, creating new tools and developing additional deposit processes along the way, with a very small team.
Working within the limitations of our digital preservation system and available resources has been challenging. While we have tried to standardize the workflows involved in digitization and digital preservation, we sometimes make adjustments to work with our varied and diverse collections. For example, due to differences in volume and access needs, the processing of Special Collections content tends to involve extensive, hand-edited metadata work while Institutional Archives files are processed in the aggregate. We try to make decisions that follow best practices for digital preservation, but ultimately we’re committed to getting the material into the system quickly, often prior to full processing, so it can be identified, validated, stored redundantly, and made accessible if appropriate, as backlogs continue to grow. In our efforts to preserve as much as possible now, we are likely creating more work for ourselves in the future, a possibility we confront regularly when weighing the importance of preservation needs versus access needs.
In this paper, we will discuss these challenges and focus on the practical decisions we have had to make when developing new deposit workflows, or adapting existing ones, on content that is in some way different than what came before. Our discussion will describe our different processes for digitized material and born- digital material both from Institutional Archives and from our Special Collections. We hope to provide guidance for those who are moving forward with “good enough” approaches instead of waiting for some magical day when we have all the time, staffing, and expertise to give our full attention and care to each filestream.
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