Electronic Records Archiving @ SLAC
Format -- General Comments
The format of a record (whether it is on paper, film, magnetic media, etc.) does not affect its appraisal and retention: use the lists of archival material (what to save) and non-archival material to determine if your electronic records should be archived. You should also take a look at the Records Control Schedule for your part of the Laboratory to see if the electronic records for which you are reponsible have already been scheduled.
The SLAC Archives and History Office has participated in a National Archives and Records Administration research project to develop procedures and tools for the robust and persistent archiving of electronic records of long-term value. As a result of this and other NARA projects, methods for preserving SLAC's electronic archives will be refined and improved.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has recently issued guidance on Selecting Sustainable Formats for Electronic Records.
Note: Some links on this page open pdf files, which require the free Acrobat Reader.
If any of your e-mail correspondence includes information that fits the definition of archival material you need to either:
- print the e-mail and retire hard copies to the Archives, OR
- make arrangements with the Archives (x3091) for transfer of the records in electronic format to be stored in SLAC's archival digital repository. Archiving of e-mail records in electronic format requires that specific system information be provided to NARA before approval can be granted. See NARA's brochure Tips for Scheduling Potentially Permanent E-mail Messages
- The latest National Archives and Records Administration guidance on archiving e-mail can be found at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/initiatives/email-attachments.html
If you maintain a website that includes information that fits the definition of archival material, you need to retire to the SLAC Archives EITHER
- A view version of the page (how it looks when served up by a browser), as well as the source document (the code that creates the page that is served) or
- An electronic version of the website. Please contact the Archives (x3091) if you wish to arrange for electronic archiving. Archiving of web-records in electronic format requires that specific system information be provided to NARA before approval can be granted. See NARA's brochure Tips for Scheduling Potentially Permanent Web Records
- The latest National Archives and Records Administration guidance on archiving websites can be found at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/initiatives/web-content-records.html
Storage Issues for Electronic/Digital Records
Longevity of stored electronic/digital data is necessarily dependent upon three factors:
- software longevity
- hardware longevity
- storage medium longevity
The life-span of any stored electronic information is only as long as the life-span of the shortest-lived of its three constituent components. Research projects like the one in which the SLAC Archives and History office is now participating are working to address and mitigate the problems caused by software, hardware and storage medium obsolescence.
Migration of data and information from obsolete software, hardware or storage media is never a trivial undertaking. Ideally, plans for the continuing preservation of historically imortant electronic/digital data and information should be made, in consultation with the Archives (x3091) as soon as the data or information has been identified as having archival or historic value
- NARA Electronic Records Management Guidance (ERM) on the Web
- NARA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Selecting Sustainable Formats for Electronic Records
- NARA TookKit for Managing Electronic Records
- NPS Conserv O Gram: Preservation of Magnetic Media
- NPS Conserv O Gram: Care of Archival Compact Discs
- NPS Conserv O Gram: Care of Archival Digital and Magnetic Media
- NAGARA Crossroads Newsletter: Developments in electronic records management and information technology. (National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators)