This section highlights some of the key pieces of advice covered later in this toolkit, you might use these to ensure you set off in the right direction for creating your Digital Asset Register (DAR). You may wish to summarize some of these points and other relevant requirements into a set of guiding principles to inform the creation of your DAR. This will allow you to refer back to these throughout the process to ensure you are meeting the aims you set out.

No assigned responsibilities for managing, updating, and reviewing the DAR.

What makes a good DAR?

What makes a bad DAR?

A well-scoped DAR that captures information on a clearly defined set of digital content (e.g. all born-digital content held by the archive).

A poorly scoped DAR that captures patchy information about an indiscriminately selected set of digital content.

Minimum required information is captured about all digital content.

Detailed information is captured on only a few groups of digital content, with many others undocumented in the DAR.

Columns with headings whose purposes are clearly described and documented (this may be in an accompanying document to keep the DAR tidy).

Columns with vague headings that are not described and documented, or where it has been done poorly.

Information that is captured in well-structured formats and is processable where possible (e.g. numerical data or yes/no).

Long blocks of textual information of varying quality that is hard to interpret or process.

Information captured directly supports the DAR’s proposed uses.

A large number of columns, many of which contain extraneous information that is never used.

Information captured does not significantly duplicate the information held in other systems.

There is significant duplication of information held in other systems.

There is a balance of effort between creating a DAR that is useful and the time required to complete entries.

New entries are excessively time consuming to complete.

Use of set lists of terms and/or drop-down lists for data entry where possible, to facilitate easy comparison of records.

No guidance or structure for data entry, leading to variable data quality.

Information is captured at a consistent level across the DAR (e.g. collection/fonds, series, or accession)

Information is captured at different levels across the DAR (e.g. at collection-level for some content, and at item-level for others).

Use of a consistent method for capturing information about potentially measurable elements such as risk (e.g. a standard scoring metric for assessment)

Use of a range of different methods for capturing potentially measurable information, making it impossible to compare different records.

Clearly marking if entering information in each column is considered to be required or optional, to help ensure the most important columns are populated.

Not identifying if information is required or optional, thereby not making it clear which are the most important columns to complete.

A clearly established process for when the DAR will be updated (e.g. when new accessions are received or as part of a monthly data audit).

No standard update process, leading to a DAR that is rarely and/or inconsistently updated (e.g. new content are often not added or data entered is poor).

Clear roles and responsibilities for managing, updating, and reviewing the DAR.

No assigned responsibilities for managing, updating, and reviewing the DAR.

A plan is made and executed for the DAR to be reviewed at regular intervals, to ensure it remains useful and accurate.

No plan to update and review the DAR, leading to its continued use when it is out of date and not fit for purpose.


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