Introduction to the STOP AIDS Project Papers
From October 2011 to September 2012, Stanford University’s Special Collections and Manuscripts library is processing the records of the STOP AIDS Project. Funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, this project will process not only paper materials but also born-digital materials such as text documents, databases, and images. It is the first project at Stanford to implement the born-digital workflows constructed as part of the AIMS Project. The project team consists primarily of Laura Williams as Project Archivist, assisted by Rebecca McNulty. Manuscripts Processing Librarian Glynn Edwards and Digital Archivist Peter Chan are are providing oversight, advice and training. Articles about digitizing analog materials from the STOP AIDS Project, such as posters and audiovisual material, will post to the Special Collections and University Archives blog.
Brief History of the STOP AIDS Project
Founded in 1985, the STOP AIDS Project is a thriving community-based organization dedicated to the prevention of HIV transmission among all gay, bisexual, and transgender men in San Francisco. Throughout its history, the STOP AIDS Project has been overwhelmingly successful in meeting its goal of reducing HIV transmission rates within the San Francisco gay community through innovative outreach and education methods. The STOP AIDS Project has also served as a model for community-based HIV/AIDS education and support, both across the nation and around the world. Since its inception the STOP AIDS Project has worked to create an exchange of data with state and local agencies as well as the federal government in order to serve as a resource for informing and shaping national HIV/AIDS education policy.
Between 2005 and 2010, the STOP AIDS Project donated 341 linear feet of material to Special Collections. The STOP AIDS Project selected Stanford University Special Collections as the repository of choice for their records for a multitude of reasons, including Special Collections’ commitment to free and open access to all researchers, regardless of institutional affiliation; proven use of primary source documents in its active library instruction program; guarantee of secure long-term preservation in a state-of-the-art climate-controlled storage facility; and an ongoing commitment to accepting future accessions of STOP AIDS Project records.
For more information, see the Stanford Special Collections and University archives blog.
Preparing Born-Digital Material for Imaging
The born digital material in the STOP AIDS Project records consists of nearly 400 3.5 inch floppy diskettes, zip drives, and data CDs. Before these disks and drives can be imaged, they must be numbered and logged, rehoused, and photographed, which will be covered in today’s article. Future posts will cover virus scanning, imaging, and processing.
Stanford is using an Excel spreadsheet to describe and track the media throughout the capture process. This log helps us to track statistics concerning our attempts at capture. The spreadsheet has columns for the following information:
- Box number – the container in which the physical media are stored
- CM number -- for Computer Media; combined with the collection call number, the computer media number is a unique identifier that helps us trace back captured data to its original disk or drive. The CM number of a particular disk will carry over to the image made from it.
- Media Type – both whether it is a diskette or a CD and details about the formatting (single sided or double sided, high density, etc.)
- Folder title (if removed from a collection folder)
- Whether the disk is formatted for a PC, Apple, or undetermined
- Whether the disk has gone through a virus scan
- Disk Imaging Status (successful/unreadable)
- Disk Imaging Notes (bad sectors, damaged disk, etc.)
- Earliest modification/creation year for files
Our first step is to locate computer media, which is spread throughout the collection. We then create a computer media separation sheet for media originally housed with textual documents. The separation sheet contains a brief description of the item(s) removed and notes their new box location. We discard hard cases for computer media (floppy disk and zip diskette cases) and rehouse CD-Rs and CD-RWs in CD/DVD sleeves.
We are using “Call No._CMxxx” as our naming convention (e.g. M1463_CM001). We place labels directly on front of 3.5 and zip disks, in a place that does not obscure any writing on the media label. For CD/DVD sleeves, we place labels in the upper left or right corner so that when the CD is photographed in the sleeve, any writing on the CD is not obscured. We then catalog labeled media in the media log and rehouse cataloged media in media storage boxes.
Creating a digital photo of each piece of media serves to preserve an image of the physical artifact, but it is primarily a record of the metadata written onto the media label. While often it may be cryptic or irrelevant (if media has been overwritten), it is similar to a folder title and may be the only external hint of the creator’s organization. These photographic images are packaged together with the disk image and technical summaries. The files and metadata are exported from FTK with a script that bundles the material for ingestion into our Fedora repository.
To Come: Virus Scanning