The Ingest Guide is a prescriptive guide. It describes the steps Archives need to undertake to have a trustworthy ingest process; the Guide is not a detailed procedure manual: it does not explain how an Archive should precisely execute these steps or construct its Resources. How the Guide is used will vary greatly from Archive to Archive depending on circumstances and needs.
Although following the Ingest Guide entails more work than most traditional archival accessioning methods do, this more carefully documents the accession process. It also regularizes and streamlines many decision-making steps and offers the potential to automate a considerable portion of accessioning, preservation, and description. The Guide is geared towards enabling an Archive to ingest records in a semi-automated and scalable manner. The more an archive articulates its Resources as machine-readable objects, the more it will be able to automate its ingest process. Obviously, expressing Resources as machine-readable objects can take a considerable investment of effort. Each Archive will have to determine the degree of automation that is appropriate for its operations. Archives will get the biggest payoff from automating their Ingest process when they have serial Ingests Projects from the same Producer sending the same type of records. An Archive can rapidly repeat the Ingest decisions they previously made and the more it has automated its SIP creation, transfer, validation, and transformation steps, the more quickly it can turn its SIPs into AIPs and complete its Ingest Projects. This work slows down when an Archive undertakes an Ingest Project with a new producer or record type or format since it has to add to its stable of resources to accommodate this new type of accession.
However, reaching a highly automated, trustworthy Ingest process requires individual Archives or the records and digital preservation communities to undertake a number of tasks that this Guide points out but does not fully address. Three of the most significant of these tasks are:
1 Develop Resources
In order for an Archive to have an automated Ingest process it needs to have fully developed rules for creating the Resources and a schema for articulating them in a machine-readable manner. Currently, most of the Resources do not have the needed rules or schemas.
2 Create SIPs (Part B1)
Creating the Resource "Submission Information Package Creation Procedures" alone represents a substantial amount of work for an Archive. Not only does a Producer have to configure records into a SIP properly, it has to extract those records from a recordkeeping environment in a trustworthy manner which is not a trivial task.
3 Appraise Records (Part A3)
An Archive has to use fully developed methodologies for surveying records and for determining a record's authenticity, disposition, and essential elements. Implementing these methodologies is a major undertaking for any Archive.
© Tufts University and Yale University, 2006.