Workshop: Advocating for Appraisal

Jessica Quagliaroli, Alice Prael | BitCurator Consortium

Although appraisal is a well established archival concept, the appraisal of born-digital collections is often a daunting task. The sheer scale and heterogeneity of born-digital files presents a unique challenge for an archivist approaching the task of appraisal. Although natural language processing and machine learning are touted as a solution – these require a level of resources and expertise that is often not available to the under-resourced archive. Even the question of when to appraise is complicated by digital materials on legacy media, since they must be accessioned before the files on the media can be viewed.

There are also costs for not appraising born-digital materials – including the monetary and environmental cost of storage space. Without appraisal we also risk losing material due to an inability to responsibly steward digital files at scale.

Appraisal of born-digital records comes with its own set of challenging questions: is it done pre- or post-accession? Is there enough staff time and funding? How does a repository choose the right set of tools?

This interactive session will address the issues surrounding appraisal of born digital records by first presenting the challenges that are unique to born-digital collections. Participants will then brainstorm advocacy strategies through three different work environment scenarios.

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Cite this resource:
Jessica Quagliaroli, Alice Prael. (October 24, 2019). Workshop: Advocating for Appraisal. BitCurator Consortium.