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Minnesota  State Archives

Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard:
Preservation History Element

ELEMENT 17: PRESERVATION HISTORY

Definition: The dates and descriptions of all actions performed on a record after its registration into a recordkeeping system which ensure that the record remains readable (renderable) and accessible for as long as it has value to the agency or department, and to the community at large.
Purpose:

To act as a tool for preservation management.

To provide a history of all preservation actions carried out on a single record over time.

To provide evidence that an agency took all due care to keep its records of value both readable and accessible.

Rationale: Agencies are required under Minnesota Statute 15.17 to "carefully protect and preserve government records from deterioration, mutilation, loss, or destruction."
Obligation: Optional
Applicability:

Migration from one data format to another is generally applicable at record level only (unless a series is comprised of records that are all in the same format).

Movement of records from one hardware platform/software environment to another, or one medium to another, is applicable at both the record and record series levels.

Use Conditions:

Use each time a preservation action is performed on a record—e.g. add information to this element whenever a record is migrated from one format to another or moved to a new medium.

If used, this element should be used in conjunction with element 13. FORMAT, which provides information on which preservation strategies should be based. It may also be used in conjunction with element 18. LOCATION.

The current details about the format and medium of the record shall always be recorded in element 13. FORMAT, sub-elements 13.2 Data Format, 13.3 Medium and 13.4 Extent.

Some preservation actions which involve moving or copying from one medium to another may result in changes to details held in element 18. LOCATION.

This element should also be used in conjunction with element 1. AGENT to document the agent responsible for performing or authorizing the preservation action (see Comments under 17.3 Action Description for information on linking to/capturing agent details).

This element shall be linked to elements 12. AGGREGATION LEVEL and 14. RECORD IDENTIFIER.

Repeatable: No

Sub-Elements

(Name,
Obligation,
Schemes):

Name Obligation Schemes
17.1 Action Date/Time Mandatory ISO 8601 standard for date/time encoding
17.2 Action Type Mandatory Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard
17.3 Action Description Mandatory Free text, agency-defined schemes
17.4 Next Action Optional Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard
17.5 Next Action Due Optional ISO 8601 standard for date/time encoding
Comments: This element could be implemented as a history 'log'. As such, it would need to incorporate linked information about agents and (depending on the implementation) the records themselves. Which particular information about agents and record IDs/titles etc. is incorporated into this log is a system design decision that must be made by the agency.

17.1 ACTION DATE/TIME

Definition: The date and time at which a defined preservation action on a record takes place.
Purpose:

To provide system validation of preservation actions carried out on records.

To restrict or facilitate access to records based on dates pertaining to particular preservation actions.

Obligation: Mandatory
Use Conditions: The system shall assign the date/time of the event when the corresponding Action Type (sub-element 17.2) is selected by the agent from a pick list of the assigned values—i.e., the selection of the event by the agent is the trigger for the date/time to be generated by the system.
Assigned Values: -
Default Value: Current system date/time.
Repeatable: Yes
Assigned By: System-assigned.
Schemes: ISO 8601 standard for date/time encoding.
Comments: -

17.2 ACTION TYPE

Definition: A preservation action carried out on a record.
Purpose: To provide a finite (but extensible) set of defined preservation actions which can be used to describe how the record was maintained in a readable and accessible state over time.
Obligation: Mandatory
Use Conditions: -

Assigned Values:

(Value Name,
Definition)

Value Name Definition
Action Reviewed: The next action on the record is reviewed in light of changing agency policies, procedures, hardware, software, etc.
Backed Up:

A regular maintenance procedure that copies all records, or a subset of records, in the recordkeeping system to a backup storage medium, such as a tape drive or optical disk drive.

Often seen purely as a data administration function, but it has applicability to ensuring continued accessibility to the record over time. Metadata will need to be stored with backups of records.

Use of this value may result in element 13. FORMAT, sub-element 13.3 Storage Medium being updated. It may also result in element 18. LOCATION, sub-element 18.3 Home Storage Details being updated.

Condition Checked: The physical storage medium and/or storage conditions are checked to determine level of physical deterioration to ensure continued readability of records.
Compressed (Zipped):

Records are converted by a file compression utility to a special format that minimizes the amount of storage space required. Use of this value should result in further information being added to element 13. FORMAT, sub-elements 13.2 Data Format and 13.4 Extent.

It is included here because it is important to know whether records which have been refreshed or migrated have also been compressed in order to save space. It also affects the accessibility and speed of access to a record.

Metadata should be stored with the records.

Converted:

The data format of a record is updated to be compatible with (and readable by) a newer version of the same software, or is changed to be compatible with a different vendor's software—e.g., Word 97 documents converted to Word 2000 or WordPerfect 5.1 documents converted to Word 2000. Use of this value should result in element 13. FORMAT, sub-element 13.2 Data Format being updated (and possibly 13.4 Extent).

This action may be required because the agency has moved to a new hardware and software environment, or because the current format of the records is becoming obsolete and is no longer supported by current technology.

Metadata should be moved with the records.

Imaged:

Records are converted from their native text/document format to a particular graphics format, resulting in the information being stored as a picture or image rather than as text. Use of this value should result in element 13. FORMAT, sub-elements 13.1 Content Medium, 13.2 Data Format, and 13.4 Extent being updated.

Metadata should be stored with the images.

Integrity Checked: The integrity of the records and metadata is checked to ensure continued readability and trustworthiness (i.e., the record is authentic and reliable).
Medium Refreshed:

Records are periodically copied from one storage medium to another to ensure that deterioration of the medium itself does not affect or prevent access to the records. Use of this value should result in element 13. FORMAT, sub-element 13.3 Storage Medium being updated. It may also result in element 18. LOCATION, sub-element 18.3 Home Storage Details being updated.

Metadata should be copied with the records.

Microfilmed:

Photographic processes are used to produce reduced-size images of records on a high-resolution, fine-grain film stock. Can be utilized with both hard copy and electronic records. Use of this value should result in element 13. FORMAT, sub-elements 13.1 Content Medium, 13.3 Storage Medium, and 13.4 Extent being updated.

Metadata should be stored with the images.

Migrated:

Records are moved from one hardware/operating system platform to another. Use of this value may result in element 13. FORMAT, sub-elements 13.2 Data Format, 13.3 Storage Medium, and most sub-elements under element 18. LOCATION being updated.

Metadata should be migrated with the records.

Moved Offline:

The record is moved to some form of offline storage, such as a CD-R or microfilm. Metadata about the record will also need to be stored with the record.

Use of this value should result in element 13. FORMAT, sub-element 13.3 Storage Medium, and element 18. LOCATION, sub-elements 18.1 Current Location and 18.3 Home Storage Details being updated.

Metadata should be stored with the records.

Default Value: -
Repeatable: Yes
Assigned By: Assigned by an authorized agent from a pick list of the assigned values.
Schemes: Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard
Comments: Each time a particular action is carried out, it will change the current values displayed in one or more other sub-elements (refer to each event for specific details). Details of the old values shall be entered under sub-element 17.3 Action Description.

17.3 ACTION DESCRIPTION

Definition: The specific details of the action.
Purpose:

To ensure the visibility and auditability of agency preservation management decisions and actions.

To ensure accountability for records readability and accessibility.

Obligation: Mandatory
Use Conditions: -
Assigned Values: -
Default Value: -
Repeatable?: No
Assigned By?: Authorized agent.
Schemes: Free text, agency-defined schemes
Comments:

The previous value of the particular record status being changed by the event may be recorded in this sub-element. This may be the information relating to the old format, medium and extent, which shall be taken from element 13 FORMAT, sub-elements 13.2 Data Format, 13.3 Storage Medium and (if used) 13.4 Extent, or it may be information relating to the location of the record, stored under element 18. LOCATION, sub-elements 18.1 Current Location or 18.3 Home Storage Details.

It is strongly recommended that this information be structured in some way rather than being entered as free text. Use of templates will enable the information to be entered in a structured way, as well as allowing certain pieces of information to be automatically generated by the system rather than manually entered by the agent—e.g., required information about the agent could be automatically assigned to the template.

Information about the agent performing the action shall be associated with the action itself. A decision will need to be made by individual agencies as to whether this association is implemented through links to separately held agent information, or whether agent information is automatically captured through the use of templates and stored as part of the Action Description.

17.4 NEXT ACTION

Definition: The next preservation review, check, or action that the record needs to undergo.
Purpose:

To act as a tool for preservation planning and coordination.

To enable searches on all records which next require a particular action.

Obligation: Optional
Use Conditions: May be used in conjunction with 17.5 Next Action Due.

Assigned Values:

(Value Name,
Definition)

Value Name Definition
Back Up:

Copy all records or a sub-set of records in a recordkeeping systems to a backup storage medium such as a tape drive or an optical disk drive.

Metadata should be linked to or stored with the backups of records.

Check Condition: Physical check of a particular storage medium and/or storage conditions.
Check Integrity: Check the integrity of the records and metadata to ensure continued readability and trustworthiness (i.e., the record is authentic and reliable).
Compress:

Convert records using a file compression utility to a special format that minimizes the amount of storage space required.

Metadata should remain linked to or stored with the records.

This action should be accompanied by "Check Integrity."

Convert:

Record format is updated to be compatible with (and readable by) a newer version of the same software or is changed to be compatible with a different software.

Metadata should remain linked to or moved with the records.

This action should be accompanied by "Check Integrity."

Image:

Convert records from their native format to a particular graphics format, resulting in the information being stored as a picture or image rather than as text.

Metadata should be linked to or stored with the images.

This action should be accompanied by "Check Integrity."

Microfilm:

Use photographic process to produce reduced-size images of record information on microfilm stock.

Metadata should remain linked to or stored with the images.

This action should be accompanied by "Check Integrity."

Migrate:

Move records from one hardware/operating system platform to another.

Metadata should remain linked to or migrated with the records.

This action should be accompanied by "Check Integrity."

Move Offline:

Move records to some form of offline storage such as CD-R or microfilm.

Metadata should remain linked to or stored with the records.

Refresh Medium:

Copy records from one storage medium to another to ensure that deterioration of the medium itself does not prevent access to the records.

Metadata should remain linked to or copied with the records.

Review Action: Next action on the record may need to be reviewed in the case of a change in agency policy or procedures, or in the event that the agency is changing to a new hardware and/or software environment.
Take No Further Action: No more action is required—e.g., because the record is due for disposal in the near term.
Default Value: -
Repeatable: No
Assigned By: Authorized agent.
Schemes: Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard
Comments: -

17.5 NEXT ACTION DUE

Definition: The date that the next preservation action is due.
Purpose:

To act as a tool for preservation planning and coordination.

To enable searches on all actions due within a particular time period.

Obligation: Optional
Use Conditions: Use in conjunction with sub-element 17.4 Next Action.
Assigned Values: -
Default Value: -
Repeatable?: No
Assigned By?: Assigned by the system and calculated on the current date after an authorized agent selects from a pick list of set time periods (e.g., "3 months", "6 months", "1 year", "2 years", "5 years", etc.), or manually entered by the agent.
Schemes: ISO 8601 standard for date/time encoding.
Comments: This sub-element could be used to generate reminders at set (agency-defined) times before the action due date arrives.

PRESERVATION HISTORY Examples

17.1 Action Date/Time 1998-06-14 Scheme: ISO 8601
17.2 Action Type Microfilmed
17.3 Action Description Microfilmed at Dakota Microfilm per schedule

17.1 Action Date/Time 2002-06-11T20:00-6:00 Scheme: ISO 8601
17.2 Action Type Integrity Checked
17.3 Action Description Integrity checked per schedule
17.4 Next Type Check Integrity
17.5 Next Action Due Date 2003-06-11T20:00-6:00 Scheme: ISO 8601

Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard: Version 1.1, July 2002.


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