Title: Tools for Digital Acquisition
Author: Christopher (Cal) Lee, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Last Updated: June 24, 2009
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 License

Tools to Support Digital Curation Functions

Note: These are examples to give you a sense of what's out there. It is NOT a comprehenisve list of available products, nor should inclusion be interpreted as endorsement of any particular product or service. See also a list of General Resources for Finding Tools and Information about Tools.

Other multi-purpose tools that cut across many different digital curation functions are:

Function or Function Category First-Level Sub-Functions
Access [XML Products]
  • Activation of requests
  • Archival information update
  • Assign responsibilities
  • Budgeting and resource allocation
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Deliberation process
  • Establishing standards, policies and rules
  • Facilities management and planning
  • Human resource management
  • Implementing and enforcing standards, policies and rules [Access Control]
  • Leadership
  • Management of system configuration [Configuration Management; Reverse Engineering; Screen Scraping and Web Scraping]
  • Management of and response to challenges or complaints
  • Managing relationships between Administration and Management
  • Monitoring and proof of compliance with standards, policies and rules
  • Monitor changes in warrant
  • Planning
  • Project management
  • Review and update of standards, policies and rules
  • Organizational change management
  • Risk management
  • Security [Access Control]
  • Statistical analysis to support operations
Advocacy & Outreach
  • Engagement with local community
  • Negotiation for resources
  • Outreach and public programming
  • Standards development
  • Understanding and promoting Archive’s role within the larger institutional context
Analysis & Characterization of Digital Objects/Packages
Analysis & Evaluation of Producer Information Environment [Screen Capture]
  • Assessment of business activity
  • Assessment of existing systems [Reverse Engineering]
  • Identification of digital curation requirements in production environment
  • Preliminary Investigation
Archival Storage [Online Storage Providers; Persistent Storage Environments]
  • Disaster planning, preparation and response
  • Ensuring sufficient redundancy of copies
  • Error checking [Checksum and Hash Generators]
  • Holdings maintenance
  • Management of storage hierarchy
  • Providing data
  • Receiving data
  • Replacing media
Common Services [Virtualization and Emulation]
Collaboration, Coordination & Contracting with External Actors
  • Conflict resolution involving Producers, Consumers and Archives
  • Establishment of succession, contingency or escrow arrangements with external actors
  • Identifying, establishing and coordinating specific types of collaborative relationships with other Archives
  • Management of agreements
  • Negotiation and maintenance of effective relations with external actors
  • Sourcing
Data Management [XML Products]
  • Administering database
  • Generating reports
  • Linking/resolution services
  • Performing queries
  • Receiving database updates
Description, Organization & Intellectual Control [XML Products]
Destruction & Removal [Redaction and Removal of Information from Files; Wiping Data and Removing Files from Bitstream]
Identifying, Locating & Harvesting [Web Archiving]
  • Defining and setting parameters for harvests and file requests
  • Extracting identifier information to determine network locations of resources
  • Harvesting metadata from external sources or
  • Making requests to appropriate locations to collect resources [Screen Scraping and Web Scraping]
  • Synchronizing content
Ingest [Web Archiving; XML Products]
  • Assigning preservation levels
  • Committing Archival Information Packages (AIPs) to the archive
  • Coordinating updates
  • Generating Archival Information Packages (AIPs)
  • Matching content with rules and agreements
  • Providing feedback to Producers
  • Receiving submissions [Screen Scraping and Web Scraping]
  • Scheduling items in queue to be ingested
  • Creation or approval of repository service definition
  • Definition or approval of archives mission, objectives and goals
  • Definition or approval of high-level policies
  • Fund raising
  • Mandate and guidance for resource utilization
Preservation Planning & Implementation
  • Assigning to a management class
  • Ensure production is authorized and ethically sound
  • Fixing to a medium
  • Generating digital content
Purchasing & Managing Licenses to Resources
  • Encumbering and tracking expenditure of funds of purchased and licensed resources
  • Establishing Archives intellectual property rights in support of preservation actions on digital objects
  • Managing licenses
Reference & User Support Services
  • Developing policies for reference services
  • Facilitating access to useful and appropriate digital objects
  • Help desk and end user technical support
  • Providing associated information to consumers
Selection, Appraisal & Disposition
  • Deselection
  • Enacting selection, appraisal or disposition
  • Evaluation and monitoring of collections
  • Identifying needs
  • Identifying valuable information resources
  • Making selection, appraisal or disposition decision
  • Selection/collection policy development
Systems Engineering & Development [XML Products]
  • Analysis
  • Coding, testing and implementation
  • Database analysis
  • Database design and specification
  • Design
  • Interface design
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Requirements Definition
  • Specification
Transformation of Digital Objects/Packages [XML Products] [Character and Character Set Transformations; Compression and Decompression; File Format Identification, Characterization, Validation and Transformation; Redaction and Removal of Information from Files; Reverse Engineering; Screen Scraping and Web Scraping; Wiping Data and Removing Files from Bitstream]
Use, Reuse & Adding Value to Accessed Information [Information Extraction; Optical Character Recognition (OCR); Screen Scraping and Web Scraping; Visualization]
Validation & Quality Control of Digital Objects/Packages

Meta-level Functions

Category First-Level Sub-Functions
Analysis & Documentation of Curation Functions
  • Monitoring and logging
  • Process mapping
Education and Sharing of Expertise or Guidance on Curation Functions  
Evaluation & Audit of Curation Functions
  • Audit of curation functions
  • Certification of repositories or programs
Research & Development to Support Curation Functions
  • Business process identification and analysis
  • Research methods
  • Supporting and administering research and development
  • User needs analysis and usability assessment