What is migration?
Migration is a process by which information is moved from one system to another. This should be done in a manner that ensures records maintain their authenticity, integrity, reliability and useability.
Migration commonly occurs when:
- Media, application, drives or systems are decommissioned
- Functions are transferred between agencies
What records should be migrated to the new system?
Appraisal should be conducted on the records prior to migration. This enables migration to focus on those records that continue to be needed or are required to be maintained. For example, records identified as being permanent or requiring long term retention (i.e. retention beyond the life of the system) can be managed appropriately so they remain accessible, useable and retain their integrity.
Decisions regarding which records should be migrated across to a new system and which will continue to be managed in the current systems should be based on:
- The value of the records currently held
- The retention periods of the records currently held
- The ability for the current system to export full and accurate records (including associated metadata)
- The ability for the new system to import full and accurate records (including associated metadata)
- Whether there are any formats that cannot be migrated and whether they need to be converted to a different format prior to migration or managed in the existing format in some way
Migration tools can be used in some instances to assist with the migration process. For example, obtaining a comparison report of what was migrated when compared with what was in the prior system can help identify any missing content.
Where the previous system is being retained as a storage database or legacy system, the capability to migrate the records and associated data into a new system must also be maintained.
PROV recommend using actively managed media when storing non-migrated digital records to ensure that records continue to be searchable, retrievable and accessible for the duration of their retention periods. Using non-searchable or unmanaged media, such as back-up tapes for the storage and recovery of non-migrated records can be expensive and take a long time to locate and retrieve records.
Migrating functions from one system to another
When functions (and their associated records) are being moved from one system to another then it is likely that the structures used for the two systems will be different. To minimise risk to the records, gain an understanding of the following:
- The export and import functionality of both systems
- The ways that metadata is captured and managed in both systems
- File and object capture and management across both systems
- Relationship management between objects, files, metadata and other record-related relationship management across both systems
- Any information types or formats that the decommissioning system has which cannot be captured or managed by the other system