Case Details

Preingest Tool

Project Context:

The Preingest Tool project, initiated by Noord-Hollands Archief, serves as an advanced technical solution to evaluate and enhance the accessibility, orderliness, and overall condition of digital archives. As a sophisticated web application operating across a local network, the tool is a composite of seven distinct Docker images, each contributing to a part of the archival assessment and processing workflow.

Technical Challenges and Solutions:

During the development lifecycle of the Preingest Tool, several technical challenges were identified and meticulously addressed.

• System Stability: One of the critical issues involved the application crashing during the ‘sidecar structures’ check, indicated by the error ‘mislukt’ (Dutch for ‘failed’), preventing subsequent checks from proceeding. To resolve this, a reverse engineering approach was employed within the backend source code to identify the root of the error. Robust error handling mechanisms were then implemented, ensuring the stability and reliability of the tool.
• Reporting Functionality: Another significant hurdle was the malfunctioning of the reporting feature. After the digital files passed through the various checks, the tool was supposed to generate an Excel report detailing the processed files and checked folders. However, in certain cases, the report failed to generate, presenting the same ‘mislukt’ error. A thorough review and correction of the backend code and export functions were executed to rectify this issue.

Technical Specifications and Workflow:

• Frontend Development: Leveraging Vue.js, the frontend of the Preingest Tool provides an intuitive interface for users to interact with the system.
• Backend Processing: Written in C#, the backend logic ensures that the automated checks are performed accurately and efficiently.
• Utilities Images: Supplementing the main application are utility images that utilize Java, Python, and other programming languages to aid in the archival process.

Installation and Training Services:

Despite the technical prowess of the tool, its installation posed a challenge to individuals with limited technical expertise. Recognizing this gap, services were offered to various institutions in the Netherlands to facilitate the deployment of the Preingest Tool. This included:

• Installation Services: Providing comprehensive installation support, ensuring that the institutions could integrate the tool into their systems with minimal hassle.
• Training Workshops: Conducting explanatory sessions to educate institutional staff on the usage and benefits of the Preingest Tool, these workshops were crucial in enabling the institutions to harness the full potential of the application.

Outcome and Impact:

The refinement of the Preingest Tool has significantly elevated the efficiency of digital archival processes. With the resolution of key issues and the enhancements made to its codebase—now updated and available on GitHub, with images built and pushed to Docker Hub—the tool stands as a more robust, user-friendly, and reliable resource for archivists.