Thinking of outsourcing the transfer of your born digital content? Read this first!


Agreement Elements for Outsourcing Transfer of Born Digital Content suggests the elements that should be considered when constructing an outsourcing agreement for transferring born digital content from a physical medium, while encouraging adherence to both archival principles and technical requirements.

This includes:

  • Data protection, ownership, security, and privacy issues
  • Technical safeguards
  • Processing approach (disk imaging or file copying and any additional manipulation of files)
  • Exception handling
  • Requirements for documentation

If these aspects are considered and agreed upon in advance by the client and the service provider, the project will proceed as smoothly as possible.

Written by Ricky Erway, Ben Goldman and Matthew McKinley, this report will be of interest to those seeking help from outside entity (whether a commercial service provider or another cultural heritage organization) with transferring content from physical media.

Agreement Elements for Outsourcing Transfer of Born Digital Content is the latest publication in the OCLC Research series of born-digital reports that aims to provide research libraries and archives with a basic roadmap for launching a born-digital management program that can be scaled up over time.  

Other reports in the series include:

  • You've Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media, which simplifies the processes of inventorying born-digital materials and copying them from old media to a form that can be managed into the future,
  • Walk This Way: Detailed Steps for Transferring Born-Digital Content from Media You Can Read In-house, which provides more thorough guidance and tips on approaches, tools, and other resources, and
  • Swatting the Long Tail of Digital Media: A Call for Collaboration, which addresses transferring content from media that cannot be read in-house.


For more information:

Ricky Erway
Senior Program Officer
OCLC Research

Melissa Renspie
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research