University of Utah Library Guides
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Guide to Organizing Digital Files

What is PII?

PII stands for Personally Identifiable Information, information that can either directly or indirectly (by a combination of descriptive factors) identify an individual. PII is of unique interest in born-digital collections because these collections are much easier to search than paper collections. Special Collections is dedicated to providing both access and preservation of collections; all collections, unless there are unique ethical or legal restrictions, are available onsite. 

PII and Processing Information through BitCurator

The library accessions and scans born digital material for viruses using a program called BitCurator. BitCurator can perform the following actions:

  • Retrieve deleted files
  • Retrieve file fragments
  • Retrieve log files

In certain circumstances, the library may have the capacity to break passwords or view encrypted files. 

BitCurator can locate some personally identifiable information including:

  • Phone numbers
  • Social security numbers
  • Credit card information

At this time we do not have the capacity to redact this information.

Where is PII found?

PII can be found anywhere in a collection. however, the following is a list of potential locations of PII:

  • Email
  • Organizational files including membership lists, job applications, donor lists, payroll and employee records, individual donor cultivation files, meeting minutes, etc.
  • Diaries
  • Faculty files including student records or assignments, RPT files, grant documentation including human subject investigation or IRB applications
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