Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On the trip home after class, I started thinking about the 9/11 photographs shown to a fellow classmate during a tour of the Still Picture unit at the National Archives. I haven't worked on any of our FEMA accessions, so it through me off, but after thinking about it, I don't believe our FEMA records goes up to 2001. I would have to check, but I believe we have at least one unprocessed accession that goes up to 1999. The digital files shown on the tour would have been the Index to the FEMA headquarters digital photographic files, which has thumbnails and browser size images attached and is available on-line. Our Electronic Records unit also has custody of the FEMA headquarters digital photographic files series. Both of the files go through 2001 and I believe up to 2004. I believe I heard that FEMA has recently sent over there 2005 digital files. The prints shown on the tour were probably the prints we made from the digital index to test their quality just in case researchers wanted to make prints themselves without ordering reproductions from our vendors. Now there is the possibility that you could find prints or negs in our possession that are duplicated in the digital files. The digital files are a combination of both born digital images and images scanned from film-based originals. I believe that FEMA didn’t start to keep digital files until the late 1990’s. The film-based originals would be the official record copy and would come to Still Picture unit. Plus, I believe only certain images were selected for scanning, so we wouldn’t want to remove items from their print or neg. series just because they were scanned. Now the born digital images would be considered the record copy for those images. Besides for the above reason, when it comes to the issue of NARA keeping both prints/negatives and digital images, which are duplicates of each other, it really comes down to preservation, reproduction, and reference issues. We kn0w what the record copy is, but would it be beneficial to have other copies in different media types. We are really just opening the door to these issues.

On another note, someone asked in class about the proper transfer media for electronic records to the Archives. I actually thought you were able to transfer using CDs, so I did some research when I arrived at work this morning. I looked at the transfer requirements for digital photographic records which refered me to the section in the Code of Federal Regulations for the transfer of electronic records. According the CFR, agencies my tranfer records on open reel magnetic tape, magnetic tape cartridge, CD-ROM, and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) , so it looks like it is possible to transfer using CDs. I actually looked and the the last FEMA transfer came in on 6 DVDs.

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