Digital / Electronic Records, Systems & Metadata

 Electronic Records n. ~ Data or information that has been captured and fixed for storage and manipulation in an automated system and that requires the use of the system to render it intelligible by a person. Notes: 'Electronic records' can encompass both analog and digital information formats, although the term principally connotes information stored in digital computer systems. 'Electronic records' most often refers to records created in electronic format (born digital) but is sometimes used to describe scans of records in other formats (reborn digital or born analog). 

(InterPARES Authenticity, p. 7) Strictly speaking, it is not possible to preserve an electronic record. It is always necessary to retrieve from storage the binary digits that make up the record and process them through some software for delivery or presentation. Taken From

Metadata describes other data. It provides information about a certain item's content. For example, an image may include metadata that describes how large the picture is. A text document's metadata may contain information about who the author is and when the document was written. Web pages often include metadata in the form of meta tags. Most search engines use this data when adding pages to their search index. Taken from

Digital Curation & Preservation

Glossary | Digital Curation Glossary by DCC

Article | Digital curation by Elizabeth Yakel

Article | Digital Curation: The Emergence of a New Discipline by Sarah Higgins

Article | Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Information by Jeff Rothenberg

Article | Intellectual Preservation: Electronic Preservation of the Third Kind By Peter S. Graham

Article | What to Preserve?: Significant Properties of Digital Objects by Helen Hockx-Yu & Gareth Knight

Article | New Partnerships for Old Sibling Rivals: The Development of Integrated Access Systems for the Holdings of Archives, Libraries, and Museums by Katherine Timms

Article | A Comparison Between Migration and Emulation in Terms of Costs by Erik Oltmans & Nanda Kol

Article | Beyond the Magic to the Mechanism: Computers, Materiality, and What It Means for Records to Be “Born Digital” by Ciaran B. Trace

Article | Moments of Risk: Identifying Threats to Electronic Records by David Bearman

Slides | Born Digital Photographs: Acquisition and Preservation Strategies by AABC Conference 2006

Web | 5 Open Source Digital Preservation Tools by Paragon CGI

Guide | Managing Electronic Records from an Archival Perspective by ICA

Guide | Digital Preservation Formats by Smithsonian Institution Archives

Article | Risk Management of Digital Information: A File Format Investigation by Gregory W. Lawrence, William R. Kehoe, Oya Y. Rieger, William H. Walters & Anne R. Kenney

Manual | Digital Preservation Handbook by DPC

Manual | Handbook For Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access by Maxine K. Sitts NEDCC

Blog | Digital Preservation Matters: This blog contains information related to digital preservation, long term access, digital archiving, digital curation, institutional repositories, and digital or electronic records management. 

Blog | MetaArchive Blog

Blog | AMIA @ UofT blog

Blog | Jaime Mears Archive Blog (Tag: Digitization)

Podcasts / iTunes | Digital Preservation Webcasts By Library of Congress

Webcast | Digital Preservation Webcast Recordings by UNESCO

Webinars | Digital Preservation Webinars by OPF

Sample | Digital Preservation at SFU

Digital Curation Tools

  • Tool | Digital Preservation Management Tutorial Modules: The tutorial will introduce you to the basic tenets of digital preservation. It is particularly geared toward librarians, archivists, curators, managers, and technical specialists.

  • Tool | Cost of Inaction Calculator by AVPreserve

  • Tool | Sharing Storage Solutions: This website provides information and tools so that institutions of all types, sizes and resource levels can learn how to create safe and appropriate storage solutions.

  • Tool | Video Preservation: The purpose of this site is to encourage the preservation of historic video using the mature technology of digital capture.

  • Tool | Comparing Digital Library Systems by Beanworks

  • Tool | Checklist for Cloud Service Contracts Intended Audience: Records Managers and Archivists by InterPARES Trust Project

  • Tool | Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit by DPC

  • Tool | Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry (COPTR): COPTR is collating the knowledge of the digital preservation community on preservation tools in one place.

  • Tool | Let's Solve the File Format Problem!: this Wiki will provide a central source for information on all manner of file formats

  • Tool | Digital Formats by Library of Congress

  • Tool | DRAMBORA (Digital Repository Audit Method Based On Risk Assessment) originated as a paper-based methodology for helping repository managers to develop a documented understanding of the risks they face, expressed in terms of probability and potential impact.

  • Tool | The File Information Tool Set (FITS) identifies, validates and extracts technical metadata for a wide range of file formats

  • Tool | The Apache Tika™ toolkit detects and extracts metadata and text from over a thousand different file types (such as PPT, XLS, and PDF)

  • Tool | JHOVE is a file format identification, validation and characterisation tool.

  • Tool | Features of BitCurator include: Pre-imaging data triage, Forensic disk imaging, File system analysis and reporting, Identification of private and individually identifying information, and Export of technical and other metadata

  • Tool | IrfanView is a fast, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10.

  • Tool | MediaInfo is a convenient unified display of the most relevant technical and tag data for video and audio files.

  • Tool | BWF MetaEdit was developed by the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) supported by AudioVisual Preservation Solutions.

  • Tool | VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use.

  • Tool | PDFTRON powerful pdf library [About]

  • Tool | VeraPDF is a purpose-built, open source, file-format validator covering all PDF/A parts and conformance levels. It's designed to meet the needs of digital preservationists

  • Tool | HxD is a carefully designed and fast hex editor which, additionally to raw disk editing and modifying of main memory (RAM), handles files of any size.

  • Tool | Archive-It is a subscription web archiving service from the Internet Archive that helps organizations to harvest, build, and preserve collections of digital content.

  • Tool | WayBack Machine: a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.

  • Tool | Webrecorder is a web archiving service anyone can use for free to save web pages. Making a capture is as easy as browsing a page like you normally would. It automatically archives the page, along with any additional content triggered by interactions.

  • Web | Make Use Of: Technology, Simplified Webpage

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Archiving in the Digital Age

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Article | Local archives and community collecting in the digital age by Lyndon Ormond-Parker & Robyn Sloggett

Article | Where’s the Archivist in Digital Curation? Exploring the Possibilities through a Matrix of Knowledge and Skills by Christopher Lee & Helen Tibbo

Article | Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation By NDSA

Article | Strategies for Managing Electronic Records: A New Archival Paradigm? An Affirmation of Our Archival Traditions? By Philip C. Bantin

Article | The Protection of the Integrity of Electronic Records: An Overview of the UBC-MAS Research Project by Luciana Duranti and Heather MacNeil

Article | Descriptive Practices for Electronic Records: Deciding What is Essential and Imagining What is Possible by Margaret Hedstrom

Article | The Role of Standards in the Archival Management of Electronic Records by Victoria Irons Walch

Metadata / File Naming:

Article | Metadata Requirements for Evidence by David Bearman

Article | Encoded Archival Description & XML reading list by UMBC

Article | Understanding EAD3 and XML by EADiva

Article | Metadata and the Management of Current Records in Digital Form by Hans Hofman

Article | Best Practices and Tools to Create Archival Image Metadata by Elena Toffalori (CoDA)

Blog | Best Practices for File Naming By bethcron (National Archives Records Express Blog)


Article | Reference Model For an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) by CCSDS

Article | Meeting the challenges of digital preservation: The OAIS reference model by Brian Lavoie

Web | OAIS Reference Model by OAIS

Archival Softwares & Systems

Article | The Archivematica Project Meeting Digital Continuity’s Technical Challenges

Web | Comparing Digital Libraries Systems


Web | The AABC Archivist's Toolkit: Automation and Digitization

Slides | DIY Archives: Enhancing Access to Collections via Free, Open-Source Platforms


For more information on Electronic Records Management prior to Archival processes, please see the Records Information Management section of our Resources Page.