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When and Where
  • 10/17/2023 11:00 AM CDT
  • 10/18/2023 7:00 PM CDT
  • 9/18/2023 11:45 PM CDT
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Pasadena
  • CA
  • Daniel Noonan
  • Carol Kussmann

This course WILL count towards the in-person requirements for the DAS and A&D programs.

In-person course will run two days---October 17-18, 2023 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. U.S. pacific (local) time (11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. U.S. central time), in Pasadena, California,

This content was previously offered as two discrete one-day courses, part 1 and part 2. In 2019, the instructors revised this course to run as a cohesive two-day offering.

This course introduces you to foundational and advanced processing strategies that are applicable to born-digital and hybrid (i.e., mixed analog and digital) records, with an emphasis on basic concepts that archivists use to establish descriptive control over digital content and hands-on work. You’ll learn about standards and tools that can be used to implement an integrated processing strategy, as well as use a variety of software tools to establish descriptive control over digital archives.  

Over the two-day course, you will be introduced to an approach for implementing a processing workflow, utilizing the OAIS Reference Model, which will be used to discuss the arrangement and description of digital records. In addition, the course will address challenges posed by digital records before undertaking a detailed discussion on how standards, protocols, functional requirements, and best practices can help you address those challenges. Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) will be discussed and the course will explore its applicability to digital records and manuscripts. As a replacement for hands-on work, the instructors will demonstrate the tools. The course will conclude by discussing factors to be considered when selecting tools and developing processing services, considering repository needs, resources, and capabilities.

Upon completion of this course, you'll be able to:

  • List the major processing challenges posed by digital records
  • Suggest strategies to mitigate them
  • Identify the elements of an integrated arrangement and descriptive program for digital materials
  • Describe the major standards supporting descriptive systems for digital materials
  • Identify basic tools that will help you to arrange and describe born–digital records
  • Use standards and tools that support an integrated processing workflow for digital materials
  • Evaluate and use software to process digital records in a way that preserves their identity, significant characteristics, evidential value, and utility
  • Make implementation decisions in order to develop a processing workflow that is suitable for your repository

Who Should Attend?

Repository managers, archivists, practitioners, and anyone responsible for the arrangement and description of digital records

What Should You Know?

Registrants should have basic knowledge about digital preservation strategies. This course builds on others, such as Basics of Managing Digital Records and Digital Records: The Next Step.

A&D and DAS Tiers: 1 Foundational and 1 Tactical and Strategic

DAS Core Competency:

1: Explain the nature of digital records and their lifecycle

3: Formulate strategies and tactics for appraising, acquiring, describing, managing, organizing, preserving, and delivering digital archives

4: Incorporate technologies throughout the archival lifecycle

If you intend to pursue the DAS Certificate, you will need to pass the examination for these courses.

A&D Core Competency:

1. Arrangement: Understand the process of organizing materials with respect to their provenance and original order to protect their context and facilitate access.

2. Description: Analyze and describe details about the attributes of a record or collection of records to facilitate identification, management, and understanding of the work.

3. Descriptive Standards: Apply rules and practices that codify the content of information used to represent archival materials in discovery tools according to published structural guidelines.

4. Management: Demonstrate ability to manage physical and intellectual control over archival materials.

5. Discovery: Create tools to facilitate access and disseminate descriptive records of archival materials.

6. Ethics: Convey transparency of actions taken during arrangement and description and respect privacy, confidentiality, and cultural sensitivity of archival materials.

7. Risk Management: Analyze threats and implement measures to minimize ethical and institutional risks.

If you intend to pursue the A&D Certificate, you will need to pass the examination for this course.

Fees: Advance / Regular 

SAA Members: $329 / $409

Employees of SAA Member Institutions: $399 / $499

Nonmembers: $469 / $589


When participants were asked “what aspect of the workshop methods/materials was most valuable to you?” responses included:

  • “This course did an outstanding job of organizing and pulling together many separate pieces that are discussed/written about. It proposes how they can work together, in what sequence. It really showed me the big picture. It was also very practical, here is how you can accomplish the “theory”. The tools were very helpful, just didn't have enough time to go through them all. Of all the DAS courses I've taken, this is the single one I would make mandatory. It pulls many of them together.”
  • “I thought the broad overview of concepts and theory was very good as well as the accessioning side of the process. It gave a good picture of why we should do preservation metadata; the OAIS repository structure and practical examples of its components; and easy ways to implement an acceptable workflow cheaply.”
  • “Seeing the AIP suggested template was most helpful--made tangible many of the OAIS concepts that we had been learning about in previous classes. I also appreciated the time we had to try out the different tools to see which would work best for our own workflows.”
  • “This course was a great introduction to various tools. I really benefited from the description of the SIP & AIP process with a correlation to existing tools for accomplishing the work