DAS Exam – Reading List and Rules

Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. Foreign students at the international student assembly recording short talks in their native language to be broadcast by shortwave, after censorship by the Office of War Information (OWI), to Nazi-held territory. Evelyn Rains of Chile

The DAS Exam (Digital Archives Specialist) is the other big exam right now. The Society of American Archivists doesn’t have the clearest of instructions about how it all proceeds. I passed the exam in 2014. Here is the instruction sheet and reading list they sent us last year. Has this been updated? Probably, but it’s a good start if you want to learn more about the process:

Examination Rules (2014):

  • You must have successfully completed all DAS required courses before the exam date in order to take the exam.
  • The Examination will take place only at the posted time and location.
  • You are not allowed to bring books, papers, or other reference materials into the examination room.
  • PDAs, cell phones, calculators, cameras or other electronic devices are not allowed in the room.
  • The proctor can’t answer questions concerning the examination or the interpretation of a question.
  • All questions are multiple choice.  There is only one correct choice for each question.  If you give more than one answer, the question will be counted as wrong.
  • The proctor will answer questions concerning the completion of the answer sheet.  Be sure to complete the answer sheet carefully and accurately.
  • The answers must be marked on the answer sheet.  You won’t receive credit for answers marked in the test booklet.  Be sure to verify that the number of the question corresponds to the number on the answer sheet.
  • There is no penalty for guessing; attempt to answer all questions.
  • No test materials, documents, or notes of any sort may be removed from the examination room.
  • You’ll be asked to sign an affidavit confirming that you are aware that the questions are confidential and that you will not share any question with others.

Examination Make-up (2014):

The Examination consists of 100 items tests on three major domains (Foundational, Tactical and Strategic, and Transformational).  This comes out to 55% Foundational, 35% Tactical and Strategic, and 10% Transformational and Tools and Services.

Testing Competencies addressed include (2014 edition):

  • Integrity checking (checksum)
  • File compression (bit loss)·
  • Migration/Emulation
  • Open/Proprietary (file formats, software)
  • Functional analysis
  • Normalization
  • OAIS model
  • Media (optical/magnetic)
  • Preservation Formats (ex. PDF/A)
  • Rights management
  • Standards (ex. PREMIS, Dublin Core, METS, DoD5015.2.)

[Ok and yes this part is long and could be made into a study guide Google sheet like the ACA exam but I haven’t done that yet]

DAS Curriculum Suggested Readings List, by Tier
April 2014

PDF version here – note that some links are broken in the original version

Please note that if a course is not included on the list, there are no additional readings and you should review your workbooks, handouts and notes only. (** Alexandra’s note, this was the MOST FRUSTRATING part of the exam. Really, SAA? You couldn’t come up with a reading list for every course!?!)

F7: Digital Curation: Creating an Environment for Success

F8a: Arrangement and Description of Electronic Records – Part I

TST2: Accessioning and Ingest of Electronic Records

TST3: Arrangement and Description of Electronic Records – Part II

TST4: Digital Repositories

TST5: Preserving Digital Archives: Concepts and Competencies

  • Digital Preservation Management: Implementing Short-Term Strategies for Long-Term Solutions, online tutorial developed for the Digital Preservation Management Course, developed and maintained by Cornell University Library, 2003-2006; extended and maintained by ICPSR, 2007-on. Available at: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/dpm/
  • Galloway, Patricia. “Digital Archiving.” In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, edited by Marcia Bates and Mary Niles Maack. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2009. (You can download this one from the UT iSchool, do a google search)
  • Lavoie, B.F. The Open Archival Information System Reference Model: Introductory Guide. OCLC: DPC Technology Watch Series Report 04-01, January 2004. http://www.dpconline.org/docs/lavoie_OAIS.pdf
  • Pearce-Moses, Richard and Davis, Susan E., “Knowledge and Skills Inventory.” In New Skills for a Digital Era (2006), pp. 1-31, available at http://www.archivists.org/publications/proceedings/NewSkillsForADigitalEra.pdf

TST7: Developing Specifications and RFPs for Record Keeping Systems

TST10: Inreach and Outreach for Digital Archives

T&S1: Achieving Email Account Preservation with XML

T&S3: Digital Forensics for Archivists – Part I and II

  • Kirschenbaum, Matthew G., Richard Ovenden, and Gabriela Redwine.
    “Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections.” Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2010.
  • Woods, Kam, Christopher A. Lee, and Simson Garfinkel. “Extending Digital Repository Architectures to Support Disk Image Preservation and Access.”
    In JCDL ’11: Proceeding of the 11th Annual International ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, 57-66. New York, NY: ACM Press, 2011.
  • Woods, Kam, Christopher Lee, and Sunitha Misra. “Automated Analysis and Visualization of Disk Images and File Systems for Preservation.” In Proceedings of Archiving 2013 (Springfield, VA: Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 2013), 239-244.

TR2: Managing Electronic Records in Archives and Special Collections

TR3: Digital Curation Planning and Sustainable Futures

  • Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation (ANADP), volume editor: Nancy Y McGovern, series editor: Katherine Skinner, Educopia, 2012. Free PDF download at: http://educopia.org/publications/anadp
    Please read:
    – Envisioning an International Community of Practice: An Introduction
    – Standards
    – Conclusion
    – Digital Preservation Management Workshop Online Tutorial, online since 2003 with regular updates. Available at: http://dpworkshop.org/

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