Workbook on Digital Private Papers > Collection development > The traditional approach

The traditional approach

Repositories approach creators, or creators approach repositories, at the end of their careers/lives when they are more engaged with their history and the sensitivity of their records have decreased through the passage of time. It is probable that this approach to collection development will always exist alongside other approaches.


  • Creators are likely to be more enthusiastic about the transfer of their records to an archive.
  • Creators may have more time to participate in the process.
  • It is likely that the creators represented in the archive will be older individuals, therefore protections enjoyed under the Data Protection Act and copyright legislation will expire sooner than with material accessioned earlier after creation.
  • It is likely that these collections can be made publicly accessible much sooner than archives accessioned earlier in the lifecycle.


  • This approach is likely to entail the loss of many digital records. Even records which appear to have survived at the bit-level may not be accessible.
  • The approach may require some 'digital archaeology', which can be unpredictable and expensive.
  • Where records have undergone migration from one computer to another it may not be possible to show that they are authentic and have not lost some of their original attributes.
  • There is no opportunity to learn about the context of the archive in its contemporary setting.