This is one of the more challenging sections of DPC RAM. There are lots of activities that come under this section and the work involved may multiply where an organization is handling the acquisition and ingest of many different streams of content. 

It is key to engage with depositors as early as possible - proactively contact them with guidelines and advice. This can be a challenge, but it is something we should try our best to do as it makes everything so much easier from there onwards.” - Silvia Gallotti, London School of Economics and Political Science


  • Consider carrying out a RAM assessment for different types of content separately. For example, you may be well advanced in acquiring and ingesting digitized content but may not be so far forward with web archives. Remember that you can use RAM however you like to get the most value out of it.

  • Finding out how others tackle acquisition, transfer and ingest can be incredibly helpful. Some organizations have published parts of their procedures and workflows and these may be helpful to consult. See the links under helpful resources below.

  • When documenting workflows (such as the ingest process) it is helpful to focus not just on how to do something, but also why. Letting people know why you are doing something a certain way will create a better understanding of the process and ensure people don’t take shortcuts. Equally useful is documenting why you are not doing certain things. This will help current and future users of the documentation understand the decision processes that have been made.

  • Creating a checklist to document and manage your ingest process might be a helpful step. This is particularly the case if it involves a series of manual steps that should be done in the right order, or if several people are involved in doing this work. Using a checklist helps to ensure that the task is done in the same way each time and that nothing is missed out. A simple ingest checklist may include use of write blockers, running virus checks, copying files to preservation storage, using checksums to verify that transfer has happened without error and other tasks as appropriate.

  • Documentation shouldn’t be a ‘write and forget’ process - documentation should be reviewed and checked regularly to ensure it remains accurate.

  • Remember that a robust ingest workflow for one set of content may not work for every collection you need to ingest. Different collections invariably bring different challenges and you need to be prepared to continue to develop and enhance your workflows accordingly.

  • Try to engage and communicate with donors, depositors and record creators as early as possible. You may be able to influence how the digital content is created, documented and managed before transfer and increase the chances of a successful ingest. Guidance you might be able to provide could include information about what types of records to transfer and what documentation and metadata is needed.

  • Keep metadata requirements simple - don’t let this be a barrier or bottleneck in your workflow. If you have an access system that can facilitate full text search, it may not be such  a problem if all metadata fields are not completed.

Helpful resourcesRAMSignpostBackground

Case studiesRAMCaseBackground

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