8th Hussars Regimental Museum Digital Preservation Policy

Introduction

This version of the 8th Hussars Regimental Museum Digital Preservation Policy (a living document) was drafted .

The 8th Hussars Regimental Museum (hereafter referred to as “8th Hussars”) is a volunteer-run museum and archive that records and celebrates the 167-year history of the 8th Hussars Regiment and concurrent military activity surrounding Camp Sussex, one of Canada’s oldest permanent military camps formed after Confederation in south east New Brunswick. The museum has over 7700 images and other digitized content (including film), and is in the process of further digitization. Other material, such as interviews are born digital, and cannot be replaced if access to these is lost.  This document outlines the digital preservation policy for the museum.

  • Acknowledgement of Existing Archival Standards: The preservation policy for this museum recognises existing digital preservation standards in the archival community. 8th Hussars has worked with the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (Department of Government Services) to give consideration to these standards, where possible, recognising the museum’s limited resources.

  • Administrative Responsibility:  Given the mandate stated below, members of the 8th Hussars staff are committed to a digital preservation policy having the following purpose and objectives:

    • Mandate: All decisions regarding museum operations and policy, including the development and implementation of this digital preservation policy are arrived at by consensus of the museum executive committee.

    • Purpose: The 8th Hussars museum records and celebrates the 167-year history of the 8th Hussars regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces. The purpose of this policy is to support this activity by preserving and ensuring long-term access to digital artefacts and digital representations of the museum holdings, and by preserving and ensuring access to any digital asset necessary for the regular operation of the museum.

    • Objectives: The 8th Hussars museum intends, by virtue of this policy, to preserve and provide long-term access to its digital holdings; specifically digital copies of the museums’ images, digitized films, born digital recordings of interviews, and similar digital artefacts. A further objective is to provide access, for as long as required, to any digital asset necessary for the regular operation of the museum. Access to all of these digital assets should be available, on demand, to a limited number of museum staff, who may in turn decide to whom copies of the asset should be distributed.

  • Organisational Viability: The following section summarizes what and what will not be preserved and for how long (based on the museum’s Digital Asset Retention and Disposition Schedule), key constraints and considerations for any preservation activities, who will be responsible for preservation management, how resources will be selected for preservation in the future, who should have access to the preserved copies, and what risks exist in the implementation of a preservation plan.

    • Scope:  All digital assets held by the 8th Hussars Museum have been identified in the museum’s Digital Inventory TemplateFootnote 1, and have been categorised into seven groups. As per the museum’s Digital Asset Retention and Disposition ScheduleFootnote 2, all these groups (with the exception of group 2 – administrative documents) are to be preserved indefinitely.

      Administrative documents are (in general) to be kept for 7 years, and are not addressed in the balance of this Digital Preservation Policy or the associated plan. These assets can be managed by simple backups.

    • Operating Principles: Given the limited amount of time and resources, the digital preservation process cannot consume significantly more time or funds than the museum’s existing data recording and backup procedures. Because of this, a full OAIS implementation is not possible.  However, the following general processes will be observed:

      1. Digital content will be created with preservation in mind (populating metadata for the content, where possible).
      2. Preservation copies of material will be made on a regular basis.
      3. An automated process will be used to create basic preservation metadata as preservation copies are made.
      4. Preservation copies will be kept on multiple forms of physical media, in multiple locations.
      5. Preservation copies will be periodically verified for data integrity.
      6. Preservation copies will be refreshed to new media on a regular basis.
      7. Preservation copies will be migrated to new formats as required.
      8. Access to preservation copies will be limited to specific museum staff.
    • Selection and Acquisition: Note that this section addresses selection and acquisition of the museum’s digital assets into its archived content, and it is not to be confused with the selection and acquisition of the museum’s physical holdings.

      If a digital asset falls into groups 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 (as per the museum’s Digital Inventory Template), then it is to be preserved. If it is a digital asset not identified on the Digital Inventory Template, the Decision Trees found in CHIN’s Digital Preservation Toolkit may be used to determine if it should be preservedFootnote 3.

    • Access and Use: Digital preservation of the museum’s content is ultimately for the benefit of those showing an interest in the history of the 8th Hussars Regiment. It is anticipated that members of this community will have access (through museum staff) to preserved content so that they might benefit from it, or contribute to the museum’s knowledge base.

      The time to access preservation copies of digital assets should be minimised by ensuring that workings copies of the content are not compressed, encrypted or otherwise encumbered in a manner that hinders search-ability.

    • Challenges and Risks:
      1. Existing physical media:  some of the digital assets are currently stored on non-archival CD (in some case rewritable CD). Some of these assets were born digital, and no other copies exist. This remains a risk until content can be migrated to a more reliable physical carrier.
      2. Limited time and resources: These constraints prevent the museum from adopting a standard OAIS model, and a hybridized solution is required. As such, no formal archival software will be used. By ensuring the process is simple, and affordable, it is expected that the process will remain sustainable.
      3. Training – in spite of the simplified process training will be required. The Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) is offering to assist with this step.
      4. Unknown Risks: Because the process does not follow the traditional OAIS model, there is a risk that an important feature of this model may be overlooked.
  • Financial Sustainability: By ensuring that the plan takes little additional time, it is expected that current human resources will be sufficient in the long-term. By ensuring that little or no software need be purchased, it is anticipated that the long-term cost for preservation is sustainable. Beyond this, the 8th Hussars is committed to the long-term preservation of its digital assets as part of its commitment to recording and celebrating the history of the 8th Hussars regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces. No long-term partnerships (beyond the initial support of CHIN and informal support from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick) are anticipated being necessary for this process.

  • Technological and Procedural Suitability: This section will be completed in future drafts, once digital preservation technology has been selected.

  • System Security: The museum will ensure a complete and accurate record of archived digital material by maintaining multiple copies on disparate physical media, in separate locations.

  • Procedural Accountability:  The museum is accountable to the museum executive committee. However, an external audit may occur if grant funds are requested. The museum is committed to periodic spot checks of archived digital content, and will use checksum software to further verify the integrity of preserved content.

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This resource was published by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). For comments or questions regarding this content, please contact CHIN directly. To find other online resources for museum professionals, visit the CHIN homepage or the Museology and conservation topic page on Canada.ca.

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