Skip to Main Content

Born Digital @ Yale: Digital Accessioning Support Service

Information related to born-digital archival collections at Yale

Digital Accessioning Support Service

In January 2015 the Born Digital Archives Working Group was formed to determine how the different libraries and museums can pool resources and expertise to find a path forward for born-digital archival materials. One of the priority goals of the BDAWG is to establish a centralized Digital Accessioning Support Service for Yale special collections to capture files in a way that maintains their archival integrity and package them for ingest into the Digital Preservation System. The service is housed in the di Bonaventura Family Digital Archaeology and Preservation Lab.  Starting in September 2016 we will provide accessioning services for born-digital physical media from special collections across Yale University Libraries and Museums.  This includes disk imaging, transferring and packaging files from physical media, and scanning for standard personally identifying information and potentially harmful viruses or malware.  For more details please refer to the service overview and other documentation listed below.

Questions? Contact Us!

You can contact the Digital Accessioning Support Service at


Alice Sara Prael
Digital Archivist

Acceptable Media Types

The Digital Accessioning Support Service can accept the following media types

  • 3.5 floppy disks
  • 5.25 floppy disks
  • JAZ disks
  • ZIP disks
  • Hard Drives
  • Flash Drives
  • Laptops
  • Optical Media

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to submit digital media to the Digital Accessioning Support Service?

The Digital Accessioning Support Service currently accepts digital media from Special Collections within Yale University Libraries and Museums.

How do I prepare media for transfer?

Prior to sending media to 344 Winchester, originating units will be asked to enter a minimum level of information (4-5 required fields) in the Digital Accessioning Support Service Metadata Template Spreadsheet, available in the Documentation. for each piece of digital media. Units must also label each disk with a unique identifier. Further instructions on labeling and the Metadata Template Spreadsheet are available in the Service Overview, which is linked in the Documentation. For units managing archival descriptions in ArchivesSpace, this spreadsheet will be ingested for use in ArchivesSpace.

How do I ship digital media to 344 Winchester?

The Special Collections Steering Committee has set up a mechanism for the physical transfer of digital media from campus libraries/LSF to 344 Winchester and back. Media transportation requests can be submitted through Aeon. For more information please refer to the Requirements for Special Collections Transport, available in the Documentation.

What media types are covered by the service?

The service covers 5.25- and 3.5-inch floppy disks, CDs and DVDs, JAZ disks, Zip disks, external hard drives, flash drives, hard disks, laptops. We do not have the equipment to work with 8-inch floppy disks, digital video formats (e.g., MiniDV), or computer and audio cassette tapes. The service is not currently accepting desktop computers, only internal hard drives that have been removed from the desktop tower. The service can provide guidance on how to remove an internal hard drive from a desktop computer, for more information please contact

The service will initially focus on digital media. Although repositories are also receiving files via network transfer, as email attachments, or via shared storage, we don’t currently have a timeline for expanding the service to include these types of acquisitions. We are aware of the need and have future plans to develop a workflow for receiving and accessioning direct file transfers.

Where will disk images and other output from the service be stored?

Temporary staging storage will serve as a holding tank for disk images and other types of container files resulting from the capture process. Each unit will have its own Storage at Yale (S@Y) share with 3-lock security; the Service will work with ITS to set up each unit’s share so that both the unit and the Service (Digital Accessioning Archivist & Digital Archivist) have administrative permissions.

What types of Personally Identifying Information (PII) will be identified by the service.

The service will scan all media for PII based on a predetermined set of search terms.  We are also working towards a list of search terms for languages other than English that arise in collection material. We will not do any redaction or file deletion based on the PII scan output, we will only share the PII found and its location.  It is the responsibility of the originating unit to determine an appropriate means of redaction or restriction before providing access.

Where will the service be housed?

The service is housed at the Digital Archeaology and Preservation Lab at 344 Winchester. This lab is equipped with write-blockers, imaging workstations with different disk drives, forensic software, external disk drives of different kinds, and vintage computers. Each unit’s media will be stored in their original boxes on a shelf designated for that unit’s collection materials.

The lab is located in a relatively high security building; access to the building and the lab is limited to Beinecke and Preservation Department staff and their visitors.

May I visit the Digital Archaeology and Preservation Lab?

Staff may visit the lab in consultation with the Digital Archivist during open hours. For more information please refer to the Digital Preservation and Archaeology Lab tab above.

Where can I ask questions not addressed here?

          For more information please contact the service at


Documentation for the Digital Accessioning Support Service Workflow and Procedures


Submission Documentation

Please complete the following documentation in order to submit material to the Digital Accessioning Support Service.