Skip to main content Link Menu Expand (external link) Document Search Copy Copied

FTK Processing Instructions


  1. Arranging and Describing Archives with FTK
    1. The Explore Tab
      1. Evidence Tree
      2. File List
      3. File Content Window
    2. PII (Personal Identifiable Information)
    3. Filtering
      1. Simple Filtering
        1. Initial File List Window
        2. Result
      2. Complex Filters
        1. Initial File List Window
        2. Result
      3. Creating New Filters
    4. The Overview Tab
    5. Labeling
    6. Searching
      1. Index Search
      2. Live Search
        1. Text Searching
        2. Pattern Searching
    7. Bookmarking
      1. Naming Conventions
      2. Creating Bookmarks
      3. Finalizing Bookmarks
    8. Entering Your Collection in ArchivesSpace
      1. Archival Objects (Container List)
      2. Managing Archival Objects
      3. Archival Object Basic Information
      4. Archival Object Description
        1. Dates
        2. Extents
      5. Instance Links
      6. Electronic Records
    9. Deaccessions
  2. De-duplicating Collections
    1. Running a De-duplication Job
    2. Adding a Duplicate File Column Set to a FTK Case
    3. Reading the Duplicate File Field
    4. Adding a Duplicate Filter

FRED 1 only

  • Sign in using your username and password when using FRED 1.
    • Your username is the first initial of your first name and full last name (e.g. losborne).
  • Select your collection from the bar on the left hand side of the screen.

  • Open CMS and navigate to the collection’s media log.

Information in the media log will assist with processing. You will need to update fields in both locations at various points during processing.

Arranging and Describing Archives with FTK

The goal of the arrangement and description phase is to approximate the process in which an archivist works with a physical collection. By using FTK the archivist will be able to appraise records as they are contained on their original media, create a set of intellectual components (arrangement), summarize the logical extents (size) and date ranges of the components, and enter them into CMS and ArchivesSpace.

The Explore Tab

  • Note the Explore tab is the default view after opening up the collection in FTK.
  • The Explore tab contains three main windows.
    • Evidence tree
    • File List
    • File Content window

Evidence Tree

  • Click the QuickPix button (the arrow box) to the left of any node to display all files located at or below the highlighted points in the File List.
  • A Yellow folder icon means there is a node selected below it.
  • A Green arrow and folder means that node is selected.
  • Unselect the node to remove all files from the current node and any nodes beneath from the File List.

  • You can also select multiple nodes simultaneously.

  • Click the arrow for the top of the hierarchy (Evidence) then click again to remove the selection to reset QuickPix. This will remove all files from the File List.

File List

  • Expand fields or hide fields that are not useful to you in the File List, which makes up the bottom half of the screen.

  • Click on any field in the File List to sort that field.

    • Sort by hash (MD5, SHA1, or SHA256) to identify duplicates.

    • Sort by Name to identify similar file names.

    • Sort by Path to see the original arrangement on the disk images including which files were in a which folder.

    • Sort Modified date to see date ranges.

  • Use the Category field instead of the Ext field when identifying formats if FTK does not recognize the correct extension.

File Content Window

  • Highlight a file in the File List and FTK will attempt to render the file in the File Content window Natural pane using an internal file viewer.

  • View Hex, Text, and Filtered tabs for lower-level interpretations of the file if FTK cannot render the file in Natural.
    • Click the Hex tab to view a hexadecimal rendering of the file.
    • Click the Text tab to view the file as ASCII text with non-printable characters as “.”.
    • Use the encoding drop-down to select an alternate encoding.
    • Click the Filtered tab to view text with non-printable characters ignored.
    • Use the encoding drop-down to select an alternate encoding.

PII (Personal Identifiable Information)

  • Please check to see if any files have the label “Potentially Sensitive” and review to see if they contain sensitive material.
    • When digital archives staff uploaded the collection’s files into FTK, they ran a search for Pii. If there were any hits, these files were labeled “Potentially Sensitive”.


  • Use FTK’s filtering functionality to reduce the number of files and file system artifacts in the File List window.

  • Select a preset filter from the dropdown on the top of the screen.


  • Click the Filter Manager button next to the filter dropdown to select complex filters.

Simple Filtering

Initial File List Window
  • Note the green background of the File List.

  • Select Actual Files from the Filter dropdown.

  • Note the yellow background of the File List indicates that there is an active filter.

  • Experiment with applying different preset filters to get a feeling for how they affect the File List.

Note: Actual Files filter hides compressed folders like .zip and .stuffit.

Complex Filters

Initial File List Window

  • Click the Filter Manager button on top of the screen.

  • Use the arrow keys to create a complex filter that can both include and exclude files.
  • Highlight a filter and click the right arrow button by Include to include files specified by that filter.
  • Highlight a filter and click the right arrow button by Exclude to exclude files specified by that filter.
  • Highlight a filter in a box and click the left arrow beside it to remove it from the complex filter.

Example: Including Actual Files and excluding Folders.


  • Toggle filters off and on by clicking the filter button to the left of the filter dropdown.

Creating New Filters

  • Click the left most button on the Filter Manager window to create a new filter.

Example: Below is a filter to display files created in November of 2013. It could be used in the Filter Manager to either include or exclude files created within that date range.

  • Consult the FTK Users Guide PDF for an in depth review of filter fields.

The Overview Tab

In the Overview tab files are organized based on their characteristics rather than how they were organized when imaged. Below is the Overview tab with the File Category node opened on the left and the File Status node opened on the right. Highlight any node to actively display the files in the File List window, which can then be viewed and filtered in the same manner as the Explore tab.


Labeling is a way of applying user-defined tags to files. It can be used to group together files from anywhere in a collection that can later be viewed on a single File List.

  • Highlight one or more files from the File List and click the button of 4 squares to use labels.

  • Click the Manage Local button to create a new label in the current case.
  • Name the label and select a color.

  • Select the box for a label from the list in the Labels window.
  • Click OK to apply the label to a highlighted file.

  • View the files by label in the Overview tab or sort by label in the Explore tab.

  • Use labels to create new filters in the Filter Manager.


FTK contains two tabs that are used for searching the collection, the Live Search tab, and the Index Search tab.

The index search is used to search the full-text index that FTK creates when disk images or files are ingested into FTK.

  • Look up terms in the index, highlight a term, and click Add.

  • Select And/Or Operators and click Search Now.

  • Click Apply filter and Select a filter from the dropdown to apply a filter to results. Click OK.
  • Hits will display in the results window.

  • Highlight hits to populate the File List.

The live search is a more advanced search used for searching across the files in a collection. While more powerful, this search is processor heavy and time consuming.

  • The Live search has three modes: text, pattern, and hex.
Text Searching
  • Enter text and click the Add button.
  • Enter a value (1) in Max Hits per File.
  • Select a filter from the dropdown next to Search Filter if you want to filter results.
  • Click the Search button.
Pattern Searching
  • Select the Pattern tab.
  • Click the white arrow to the right of the search bar to use preset regular expressions
    (phone numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.).

  • Select a pattern from the menu to the right.
  • Click the Search button.
  • Hits will display in the results window.
  • Highlight hits to populate the File List.


Bookmarks are used to group together files into an intellectual component to be entered into Aspace. It is in a bookmark that the unit identifier, unit title, and date coverage will all be recorded.

Naming Conventions

There are currently two ways to enter ER components in ASpace. You can manually enter ERs in ASpace or Digital Archives staff can create a JSON export of the bookmarks. You must use the following conventions for JSON to be created correctly.

  • Create Bookmarks with Series titles. These bookmarks have no files.
  • Create ER bookmarks with files under Series bookmarks.

Creating Bookmarks

  • Create empty bookmarks to mimic the hierarchical structure of the finding aid.
    • Right-click a top level bookmark in the Bookmarks tab and select ‘Create empty bookmark’.
    • Drag and drop bookmarks to place them in the hierarchy.
  • Wait until you are finished processing to number your ER components.

  • Highlight the files to be included in a bookmark from the File List then right-click.
  • Select Create a New Bookmark.


  • Click the button. This will bring up the Create a New Bookmark pop up.

  • Enter a title for the bookmark (it can be a temporary title).
  • Select a parent node from the Select Bookmark window.
  • Click on the Bookmark tab to view the bookmarks for a collection.

Finalizing Bookmarks

  • Enter the unit id, unit title, and date range of the files in the Bookmark Name field.
  • Bookmark Name: ER[space]number: Title, dates.
    ER 5: Future of Public Television, 1992

Entering Your Collection in ArchivesSpace

For instructions on how to enter your electronic records in ArchivesSpace, please see the ASpace Users Guide.

Archival Objects (Container List)

In ArchivesSpace, an archival object represents anything below the collection level. Archival objects represent series, subseries, files, and items. In EAD parlance, an archival object represents a component. Container lists are created by creating archival objects within a Resource.

Managing Archival Objects


  • Archival Objects can only be created within the context of a Resource. To create an Archival Object, use the Add Sibling or Add Child buttons (buttons 1). Add Sibling will create a new object at the same hierarchical level as your current record; Add Child will create one directly below it.

  • Archival objects can be moved within and between resources via this window. Use Cut and Paste (buttons 2) to cut and paste an archival object within a resource’s component hierarchy. Archival objects can also be dragged-and-dropped within the hierarchy window (field 6), which will reorder them within the collection. Similarly, the Move option (button 3) can be used to more precisely move an archival object around a collection.

  • When clicking-and-dragging archival objects around a collection, a small arrow will appear on the left of the list. This arrow will indicate where the archival object will be dropped.


NOTE THAT ARCHIVAL OBJECTS CANNOT EASILY BE MOVED BACK. Be extremely careful when moving archival objects around in a resource!

  • The Transfer option (button 4) will move an archival object from one resource to another.

  • The Rapid Data Entry window can be opened by clicking on Rapid Data Entry (button 5). Please see the section on Rapid Data Entry for more information.

Archival Object Basic Information


  • Provide the component’s title in Title (field 4). Refer to DACS 2.3 for more information on the formulation of titles. Do not provide the date in the title; instead provide it in the Date form.

Note that titles are not required for components. If a component has no title, but a date (e.g. “1900-1910” in the “Correspondence” series), provide the date but do not provide a title.

  • The MSS Identifier (field 5) will be automatically generated; do not provide a value for this field.

  • Provide the level of description of the component in the Level of Description menu (field 6). Select a value as follows:

    • For series-level components, select “Series”.

    • For subseries-level components, select “Subseries”. Choose this only for subseries directly under a Series component.

    • For item-level components, select “Item”.

    • For all other components, select “File”.

Use sound archival judgment when determining the Level of Description for Archival Objects.

  • Archival objects can be suppressed by selecting the Suppress button (button 2). Suppressed records will not export in the collection’s EAD export, and will be treated as nonexistent by systems outside of ArchivesSpace. Contact management in the Archives Unit before suppressing records.

Archival Object Description

  • For details on the use of the Identifiers, Agent Links, Subjects, and Notes sub-forms of the archival object record, please see their corresponding documentation regarding resource records. Use these sub-forms in accordance with NYPL processing guidelines and descriptive best practice.


  • Use the Dates sub-form to describe the dates spanned by the archival object. Refer to DACS 2.4 for instructions on formulating appropriate dates.

  • ArchivesSpace allows for multiple date sub-forms; each sub-form should describe one date or date range. Do not use broken dates at the collection level (e.g. “1600, 1900-1910”) without approval from Archives Unit management.

  • When creating dates, additional sub-forms can be generated via the Add Date button (button 3).

  • Provide the date in the Expression*field (field 2). Follow the rules laid out in DACS 2.4 for creating dates.

  • Select the type of date in the Type menu (field 2). Select “bulk” for bulk dates and “inclusive” for all other dates.

  • Extents should only be provided for archival objects in the following scenarios:

    • The archival object represents AMI and should be described as carriers and timecode

    • The archival object represents electronic records and should be described as computer files and bytes

    • The archival object represents a series and should be described as containers and linear feet.

  • When describing electronic records, provide the size of the records in the appropriate magnitude of bytes (kilo/mega/giga) as the Number, and the unit of measurement as Type. Provide the number of computer files in the Container Summary (e.g. “5 computer files”).

  • When describing audiovisual material at the archival object level, include a timecode extent if possible. Timecode extents should have a Type of “timecode” and a Value formatted as HH:MM:SS (e.g. “00:27:05”). If the timecode represents the entire extent of the audiovisual material, set the Portion as “Whole”; otherwise, set it as “Part”.


  • The Instance form is used to link collection and component records to container records and digital objects. Container records represent boxes, digital files, and oversized folders.

  • Instance sub-forms can be added by clicking the Add Container Instance or Add Digital Object buttons instances(buttons 1), or their corresponding buttons at the bottom (buttons 5). Add an Instance sub-form for each container associated with an archival object (e.g. an archival object describing 5 boxes should have 5 Instances).


  • Provide the link to the appropriate container in the Top Container field (field 2). Containers can be searched by typing into the *op Container field (see above); this will only search containers already associated with the collection. If the container does not already exist (or is not already associated with the collection), further options can be found by clicking the triangle to the right of the field. The Create option will bring up a window to create a new container (see “Container Instances” below); the Browse option will bring up an advanced search window for finding containers.

  • If more detailed description of the archival object’s container is needed (for example, if the component represents a range of folders within a box), provide this information in the Child Type and Child Indicator fields. Select the type of child container from the Child Type menu (field 3), and provide its number (or range of numbers) in Child Indicator (field 4). For example, if an archival object describes folders 2-5 in a box, the Child Type would be “folder” and the Child Indicator would be “2-5”.

Electronic Records

  • Electronic records can be attached to components by adding an Identifier, such as er.1.


  • Select the Bookmarked filter.
  • Select each media object in the evidence items window one by one.
  • Note media objects with no files present.


  • Select the Bookmarked filter and sort the File List by path.
  • Note MediaIDs that don’t appear in the File List.

  • Keep media objects that contain executables served as a disk image.

De-duplicating Collections

Running a De-duplication Job

  • Select Additional Analysis from the Evidence menu.

  • Select Flag Duplicate Files from the File Hashes group and click OK.

  • This will start a comparison of the checksums of all files in the collection.

  • When complete close the Data Processing window.

Adding a Duplicate File Column Set to a FTK Case

  • Click the column settings button from the File List window.
  • Click the import button and navigate to Storage(F:)\FTKsettings\ColumnDefs\Duplicates.xml
  • Click OK and close the column settings window.

  • Select Duplicates from the column dropdown.

Reading the Duplicate File Field

  • Note the Duplicate File field in the File List.
  • Note the number in the Duplicate File field.

  • If the Duplicate File field is blank the file has not been analyzed for duplication.

  • 1 indicates the file is duplicated but it is the first instance of that file hashed in the case.
  • 2 indicates the file is a duplicated and not the first instance of that file hashed in the case.
  • 3 indicates the file is unique and does not have a duplicate in the collection.

Adding a Duplicate Filter

  • Click the import filter button from the Filter Manager
  • Navigate to Storage(F:)\FTKsettings\FilterDefs\DuplicateSecondary.xml
  • Click open and OK to import it into the case.
  • Use the filter to either include or exclude secondary duplicates from the File List.

Example: File list excluding secondary duplicates.

Example: File list including only secondary data sets.