Appraisal and Selection

Ross Harvey, GSLIS, Simmons College
Published: January 2007
With the predicted data deluge, it is unlikely that data curators will be able to preserve all data that are generated in the course of their organisation's daily activities. As such, appraisal and selection processes are increasingly vital to ensure that organisational resources are used efficiently and effectively to preserve the most valuable data for access and reuse over time.


Download the Appraisal and Selection chapter (pdf)

Key Points

  • Identifying what data you have and for how long you need to preserve it.
  • Understanding that data have informational, evidential and re-use value.
  • At what stage in the data lifecycle should selection and appraisal occur.
  • How closely should content creators and archivists work together to select and appraise data.
  • How can digital curators balance the needs of today's users with those of future users.
  • How often should re-assessment of selected data occur.
  • What factors to consider when selecting and appraising digital data (completeness of metadata, standards, preferred formats, risk of loss of data, and the importance of provenance, authenticity, context and integrity).
  • How legislation such as FoI and DP may impact the selection and appraisal of digital data.
  • How important is common terminology for the appraisal and selection of digital data across disciplines.
  • Identifying roles and responsibilities.
  • The value of establishing organisation-wide policies for selection, appraisal, acquisition, and disposal of digital data.
  • What tools, automation processes and guidance exist to assist in the appraisal and selection of digital data.
  • Sample policies from real-life examples and scenarios.