Three Approaches to Documenting Database Migrations

  • Andrea K. Thomer School of Information; University of Michigan
  • Alexandria Jane Rayburn School of Information; University of Michigan
  • Allison R. B. Tyler School of Information; University of Michigan


Database migration is a crucial aspect of digital collections management, yet there are few best practices to guide practitioners in this work. There is also limited research on the patterns of use and processes motivating database migrations. In the “Migrating Research Data Collections” project, we are developing these best practices through a multi-case study of database and digital collections migration. We find that a first and fundamental problem faced by collection staff is a sheer lack of documentation about past database migrations. We contribute a discussion of ways information professionals can reconstruct missing documentation, and some three approaches that others might take for documenting migrations going forward.

[This paper is a conference pre-print presented at IDCC 2020 after lightweight peer review.]

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