How to Establish an Archive

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In establishing an archive, many considerations must be made. Creators must develop a mission statement for the archive, choose standards for acceptance of materials, define procedures and policies, develop a triage strategy for materials, and create an effective organizational scheme. This page provides helpful information on each step of this process.

Develop a Mission Statement:

Publish a mission statement that clearly defines:


Archives need a policy for tracking standards in resource creation and presentation formats.

Standards may be tiered, or scaled, to reflect the realities of field recordings and legacy materials. For example, MiniDisc recorders produce compressed digital objects, which are not the best possible quality, but may be acceptable because of the relatively low cost and ease of use of these devices in the field.

Strive for highest quality, but do not let the best become the enemy of the good: if a 'less than standard' digital object is all there is, archive it anyway. Don't reject resources from speakers.

Define Procedures and Policies for:

Develop a Triage Strategy For the Following:

Arbitrating among these criteria must be done on a case by case basis and reflect the priorities of the archive as defined by the mission statement. The order given does not reflect any necessary schedule of priorities.

Organize Data

Recommended practice is to build or acquire a software infrastructure for maintaining metadata, administrative information and user information. The standard is neutral with respect to implementation: it may be a file based system that uses XML tagged headers read by PERL scripts, like the MPI Corpus Browser, or it may be a database system. AILLA and ANLC use custom built MySQL databases; PARADISEC is using a Filemaker PRO System, though it intends to replace this with a MySQL database.

Crucial considerations are:



The content of this page was developed following the recommendations of the E-MELD working group on Archiving.

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Establishing an Archive
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