15 July 2010
In the Spring of 2010, ICPSR began a self-assessment exercise to document evidence for meeting the requirements of the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification (TRAC) checklist. The requirements fell under these major headings:
• A1. Governance and Organizational Viability
• A2. Organizational Structure and Staffing
• A3. Procedural Accountability and Policy Framework
• A4. Financial Sustainability
• A5. Contracts, Licenses, and Liabilities
• B1. Ingest: Acquisition of Content
• B2. Ingest: Creation of the Archival Package
• B3. Preservation Planning
• B4. Archival Storage and Preservation/Maintenance of AIPs
• B5. Information Management
• B6. Access Management
• C1. System Infrastructure
Guided by ICPSR Digital Preservation Officer Nancy McGovern, we listed each TRAC requirement on its own page on the ICPSR Intranet. Groups at ICPSR were then assigned responsibility to document these requirements on the Intranet pages. For example, the ICPSR Dissemination Committee, which I chair, was given responsibility to document the requirements related to access. The groups were then directed to rate the level of compliance with each requirement on a rating system from 0 to 4:
The Dissemination Committee recognized early in the process that ICPSR needed an explicit Access Policy in order to comply with several of the TRAC requirements, so our group drafted such a policy
, which was subsequently approved and posted. This was a good outcome as it creates greater transparency for the ICPSR repository in terms of how it grants access to data and other products.
Of the 12 requirements for which the Dissemination Committee is assembling evidence, most have received a rating of about a 3, or “mostly compliant.” The TRAC criteria are demanding and we know that the organization has a ways to go to be fully compliant with the requirements.
We are still in the process of understanding ICPSR’s level of compliance across the organization and there will be a full discussion of TRAC at the next meeting of the ICPSR Council in October 2010. ICPSR hopes to provide a report to the community on its experience with TRAC, its findings, and future directions.
Mary Vardigan (ICPSR)
Note that these requirements reflect the public TRAC version in use at the time, pending the ISO version, but we will ultimately align with the ISO version.