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Wartburg Archives Procedure Manual: Digital

Procedure manual for staff, student workers, interns and volunteers of Wartburg College Archives and Archives of Iowa Broadcasting.

Digital Preservation

Today most records are “born digital” or electronic, as created. These records can include documents (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.), photographs (.tiff, .jpg, etc.), audiovisual (.mp3, .mov, etc.), and more. Electronic records present significant challenges for preservation by Archives. The Archivist must verify the file’s authenticity, and ensure its long term preservation and access despite the prevalence of format obsolescence and proprietary software.


Files arrive from Creator to the Archives Staff

  • Staff checks against manifest that all files are present
  • Runs scan for virus/malware on standalone computer
  • File formats standardized


Data Management

Files are placed in “Staging” on enterprise server

  • These files are accessible via the campus network to Archives Staff via their workstations [access permissions are set by ITS, and will be limited to Archives staff]
  • Files will be backed up disk to disk daily as changes are made, or on a weekly basis (backup disks are stored in a different campus location from main server)
  • These files can be deleted after processing is completed and files are moved to “Archive”

Files are processed by Archives Staff

  • Quality assurance checks (does file play, quality okay, etc.)
  • Metadata checked, added if necessary
  • Files are transitory, no backup needed

Archival Storage

Files are moved to “Archive” (Permanent Storage)

  • Access to these files is limited to the Archivist and ITS network staff
  • Backed up weekly disk to disk
  • Backed up monthly to tape (tape is stored off campus)
  • Fixity checks performed monthly to verify files have not become corrupted (if they have, files are repaired or replaced from a backup copy)
  • No file deletions are initiated from Permanent Storage

Open Archival Information System

The Open Archival Information System ( is a framework for the archival management of electronic records. It lays out the components, functions and relationships that are required for proper digital preservation.


Digital Storage Infrastructure

Archival digital files are stored on the Wartburg College enterprise server and managed by the Archives and Wartburg College’s Information Technology Services Division for long-term preservation. The College currently has a Hewlett-Packard server. Files are accessible across a shared network at individual workstations according to allocated permissions. 

The current server architecture performs virus scans and self-diagnostic checks continually, and phones the vendor when a drive needs to be replaced in the array. File integrity is checked automatically on a monthly basis and reports are generated for ITS staff, who can then repair or replace corrupted files with copies from a backup.

Files are currently backed up to at least three copies. Two disk arrays are stored in different locations on campus, and backup tapes are stored off campus. The server room is equipped with a fire suppression system, and the array has a battery backup and a generator in case of power failure. Network security includes Bradford Network Access Control and a Cisco Firepower 41110N Firewall. Bandwidth between the College’s system and internet access is 5gb.


Files are accessed to fulfill research requests or for special projects

  • Web-ready copies to be available via online catalog 24/7 [these are backed up weekly disk to disk]
  • Access format files pulled in response to research requests to Archives Staff
  • Copies of preservation format files may be needed by researchers for special projects
  • Files pulled for requests are considered transitory/derivatives, no backup needed
  • After request is fulfilled, they can be deleted
  • Occasional need to reprocess digital files (migrate to new file format, add/change metadata), in which case file will be copied from “Archive” to “Staging” altered and then replaced into “Archive”

Preservation Planning


  • Evaluation of Archive holdings
  • Recommendations for information updates, migration of holdings, policy updates
  • Monitors changes in user service requirements and knowledge base

Information Technology Services

  • Provides risk analysis reports
  • Monitors changes in technology environment [currently investigating DAM software and cloud storage options for backup copies]
  • Develops migration plans, software prototypes, test plans



  • Negotiates submission agreements with creators (Vendor contracts, Donor agreements)
  • Documentation of policies and procedures
  • Providing customer support

Information Technology Services

  • Configuration of hardware/software
  • Providing customer support

Vogel Library, Wartburg College   |   100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 |   Phone: 319-352-8500   | Email: