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Using different types of storage carriers for data is an integral part of our professional and personal experiences with digital. And we probably all have a memory of using an older storage carrier and then using a different kind of carrier as storage technology continued to evolve.

While floppy disks, for example, are no longer commonly used to store data, this format and others are commonly found within library and archive collections.

Digital collection materials can be found on a number of different kinds of carriers at Cambridge University Libraries. As some of these carriers have become obsolete and fragile, data must be extracted from the carriers for its ongoing preservation and access.

The Transfer Service covers processes and workflows to transfer the data from various types of carriers found within library collections. This work entails the technical workflow to extract the data from its carrier as well as engaging with collection owners to support accessioning and appraisal of these materials using CUL's Archives Management System as well as to understand content and user requirements for preservation and access.

Guidance about identifying carriers and important details to document has been created to support collection owners in updating AMS records with additional metadata.

The Digital Preservation team uses a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device (FRED) to transfer data from the following carriers:

  • 3.5-inch floppy disks
  • 5.25-inch floppy disks
  • Hard drives
  • Multimedia Card Formats
  • ZIP Disks
  • Memory Sticks and USB-Flash Drives
  • Optical Discs (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray)