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DigiCULT
.
Info
15
Introduction
T
he reference models for preservation
that exist at the moment, such as the
well-known OAIS (Open Archival Infor-
mation System) model, focus mainly on
the functions and processes for preserva-
tion, not on metadata.This is, however, an
essential part of the whole model.The
OAIS includes a high-level, object-oriented
information model. So far some attempts
have been made to produce sets of meta-
data for preservation purposes, but none
has covered as much of the OAIS reference
model as the one now published by the
Working Group on preservation metadata
of OCLC/RLG.The version of June
2002 is available at:
http://www.oclc.org/research/pmwg/
T
he Working Group has performed a
remarkable job in trying to identify
more precisely what metadata are necessary
to preserve (certain types of) digital
objects. Because of the predominance of
the OAIS model, any related contribu-
tions will subsequently have an impact on
the thinking on this issue. It is therefore
important to be aware of the strengths
and weaknesses or limitations of the pre-
sented metadata approach by putting it
into a broader context. On a worldwide
level, there are further initiatives under
way that are trying to deal with this issue.
Examples are the ISO work on record
management metadata, which also inclu-
des preservation metadata, and the work
of the National Library of New Zealand,
which, though not yet published, is an-
other interesting
and important
development. And
most likely there
will be others.
Since the OAIS
model could, in
principle, also be
applicable for elec-
tronic records, it
will be interesting
to see how this
metadata report will or can accommodate
records management and archival needs.
Lastly, questions arise, such as whether
there should be more co-ordination, and
whether there should be a (kind of) stan-
dard, and, if so, how this can be achieved
and who and what disciplines should be
involved.
M
y comments are two-fold: first,
what can be said about this preser-
vation metadata set in general and, second-
ly, to what extent does it cover the needs
of the records management and archival
community in preserving (archival) records?
In addressing these questions, I will draw
among others on the conclusions of the
work being carried out in the Preservation
Task Force of the first Inter Pares project
with regard to the preservation of authen-
tic electronic records.The results are avai-
lable at: http://www.interpares.org
1. T
HE
P
RESERVATION
M
ETADATA
S
ET IN
G
ENERAL
T
he terminology used by librarians is
sometimes confusing for archivists,
and vice versa, I assume.Terms like prove-
nance, archiving, context, records, etc. are
used with slightly different meanings.This
is already inherent in the OAIS model
itself, so any discussion about preservation
is challenged by confusion of terminology.
It requires records managers and archivists
(and perhaps other information professio-
nals) to be aware of these differences and
to make a translation of such terms to
their own domain.
T
he term `records' is used, for instance,
as a sub-sub-element of `Resource
Description' (under Reference Informa-
tion) named `existing records', which refers
to existing metadata records. In the archival
community this term has a very specific
meaning, records document and are evi-
dence of business activities.When applying
the metadata model for a wider audience,
more awareness of the issue of terminology
is required, for instance by including clear
definitions of key terms.The terms as used
in the OAIS model and accordingly in this
proposed set of metadata, such as digital
objects, data objects, data content objects,
B
Y
H
A N S
H
O F M A N
, S
E N I O R
A
DV I S O R AT T H E
N
AT I O N A L
A
R C H I V E S O F T H E
N
E T H E R L A N D S A N D
C
O
-D
I R E C TO R O F
ERPANET (S
E P T E M B E R
2002)
R
EVIEW
: S
OME
C
OMMENTS ON
P
RESERVATION
M
ETADATA AND THE
OAIS M
ODEL
P
RESERVATION
M
ETADATA AND THE
OAIS I
NFORMATION
M
ODEL
. A M
ETA
-
DATA
F
RAMEWORK TO
S
UPPORT THE
P
RESERVATION OF
D
IGITAL
O
BJECTS
.
R
EPORT BY THE
OCLC/RLG W
ORKING
G
ROUP ON
P
RESERVATION
M
ETADATA
, J
UNE
2002:
HTTP
://
WWW
.
OCLC
.
ORG
/
RESEARCH
/
PMWG
/
Hans Hofman