Tuesday, 27 July 2010


The Born Digital Archives is the blog of the
AIMS team. We hope to stimulate dialog about practical solutions to archiving materials that originate in digital form. We invite all concerned archivists to chime in with questions and comments via the "comments" to each post. AIMS is inclusive with the intention to create open source solutions that are useful to both small and large institutions.

AIMS is “Born Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship". Funded for two years by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the four partners are The University of Virginia Library, Stanford University, the University of Hull, and Yale University. The purpose of AIMS is to implement best practices. AIMS will create and deploy open source software to manage the all steps in the acquisition, conservation, and eventual dissemination of digital collections. Given that we all have somewhat different administrative, hardware, and software needs, AIMS will strive to use portable open source tools which integrate reasonably seamlessly, and allow archivists a flexible workflow. We plan to process several important collections of born digital media, using Hydra to handle discovery. Hydra is based on the Fedora Commons Repository Software.

The AIMS digital archivists have the mandate to nurture a global community by publishing our lessons online, writing manuscripts, attending conferences, and generally being evangelists for born digital. We are optimistic that we can create (or discover) workable solutions to real-world problems involved with processing and preservation of digital objects. The work flow is wide ranging. Archivists often work with donors early in the process. Many collections pose technical and intellectual challenges such as arrangement or presentation. Legal aspects are involved in authority and access. Collections are sometimes ingested into content management systems. Of course, the eventual goal is to make the documents available via discovery by the general public, as well as accessible to scholarly research.

The AIMS team includes a software engineer, and our team is working closely with other software developers. We use normal software development conventions and open source software that runs on commodity hardware. We are agnostic about user interface and operating system so that our solutions will be portable, sustainable, easy to use, and accessible to the broadest possible audience.

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