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Best Practices

Best Practices

This document is designed to help GLAM institutions plan their digital projects with sustainability and maintenance baked in from the beginning. It is not a list of proscriptive best practices, but rather a series of questions that institutions and project staff should ask themselves at the beginning of any digital initiative. Answering these questions should point you toward problem areas, issues to discuss with other project participants, and maintenance events to plan for now, in order to make your project more sustainable long term.

Linked in the Sustainability Framework is the Digital Project Sustainability Tracking Form, which is a separate document intended for institutions partnering with PACSCL for a specific project. Institutions creating internal projects may also find this tracking form useful as a template and we welcome you to adapt any PACSCL Technology Sustainability Working Group documentation to your own needs.

Lastly, the working group created a sunsetting checklist to be used by organizations to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to sunset PACSCL-sponsored projects. Like other forms and procedures, this can be used by any organization contemplating a digital project.

Grant Development Procedures

The Grant Development Procedures were created to address the divergent methods by which PACSCL has developed grant-funded projects since its inception.  The procedures suggest that potential projects be grouped by tiers based on project beneficiaries, a total development cap to ensure organizational capacity, and that each project contributes to PACSCL’s strategic plan and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Reading Room Practices

To better identify and address issues of access and inclusivity, the Reading Room Inclusivity Working Group, a subcommittee of PACSCL’s DEI Committee, surveyed and interviewed special collections patrons, as well as special collections staff in the Philadelphia area.

Using survey data, as well as a review of current literature on the topic, the working group developed this set of best practices with the goal of improving reading room inclusivity and user experience in PACSCL institutions. This work is meant to support staff who work in the reading rooms of archives, special libraries, and special collections facilities by encouraging discussions among stakeholders, including staff and researchers, that will facilitate positive experiences and increase access.

Hidden Collections Documentation

PACSCL received funding for two phases of what are jointly referred to as the Hidden Collections projects. The first phase ran from 2009-2011 and the second from 2013-2014.

The result of these projects can be found in the Philadelphia Area Archives portal.

Documentation includes Manuals & Training Tools; Processing Planning, Tracking, & Metrics; and legacy documentation on the use of Archivists’ Toolkit.

Community Best Practices

We are also seeking submissions of existing digital project and preservation best practices from PACSCL institutions, which will be made available in this Google Drive folder: 

We aim to create a resource of digital preservation documents and practices representing the variety of institutions that are part of PACSCL, from academic libraries to museum archives and everything in between. Please submit any official policy in place at your institution that touches on some aspect of digital preservation, sustainability, and maintenance.