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Standards and Best Practices

Paper and other Hardcopy Records at JHMI

Even in the digital age, faculty and staff at JHMI generate large quantities of paper records and other hard copy formats, such as microfilm. In some cases it maybe more cost effective to store records in hard copy formats rather than digitally.

Cost of not implementing best practices

Digital Records at JHMI

Record creation, use, and dissemination have dramatically changed with the advent of the personal computer in the office place. They are no longer being created, stored, and sent on paper, but instead exist as bits of meaningless information unless that information is read correctly by a computer. Digital Records of all types (word processing documents, spreadsheets, photographs, presentations, email, audio/video, and databases) introduce new challenges to long-term management and preservation. Creators of digital content can follow the current best practices to improve the chances that their records will be preserved, readable, and retrievable in the future.

Timing to Implement Standards and Best Practices

"Data archiving is a process, not an end state where data is simply turned over to a repository at the conclusion of a study. Rather, data archiving should begin early in a project and incorporate a schedule for depositing products over the course of a project's life cycle and the creation and preservation of accurate metadata, ensuring the usability of the research data itself. Such practices would incorporate archiving as part of the research method."[1] An ideal situation would be for the researcher to plan for eventual archiving and dissemination of research data and information before they are even created.

The best practices for preserving digital content provided below have been gathered from many different groups—including the International Organization of Standards (ISO)—which can be used to preserve JHMIs collections.

Standards & Best Practices for Digital Information

[1] Jacobs, James A., and Charles Humphrey. "Preserving research data." Communications of the ACM. 47, 9 (2004): 27-29.