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DigiCULT
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Info
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sing existing results of different digital
preservation projects in this area.There are
some issues, however, which need further
attention.They concern on the one hand
the scope and underlying concepts of the
OAIS model and the resulting metadata
set as presented, and on the other hand
the application of the model and metadata
set in a records and archival environment.
One issue is the scope of the metadata set,
as it covers only metadata for information
packages. It does not deal with other
important areas of the OAIS Information
Model such as Preservation Planning and
Administration. It would be useful for a
fuller understanding of preservation meta-
data, if this could be included in a sub-
sequent version.
T
he metadata set (and underlying
model) would also benefit from a
clearer understanding of the concept of
authenticity and the way it is included.
I
n this respect more discussion is needed
on the (underlying) concepts, not only
on how authenticity is seen and should be
positioned, but also on what is meant by a
`digital object'. In particular, the distinc-
tion between physical and conceptual or
intellectual aspects of a digital object
should be made more explicit and will
probably have an impact on the model
and metadata set also.
M
ore attention also needs to be
given to the relationship between
the (preservation) processes and the
metadata. This will help to clarify the
purpose(s) for which metadata are neces-
sary. In the case of this report, however,
it is not clear how this is established or
identified or, put otherwise, in what
(preservation) processes what metadata
are used.
S
uch information would help not only
to understand the metadata set better,
but also to support a more effective use
both of the OAIS model and the accom-
panying metadata model for preserving
digital material.
A
nother point is the fact that the
Working Group has taken the OAIS
conceptual information model as the basis
for its work. Since that model is a high-
level object-oriented model derived from
the functionality of the OAIS model
itself, the Working Group by definition
had to stay on a high level also in order to
establish a set of preservation metadata. It
therefore has to be adapted and made spe-
cific to identified environments in order
to be applicable. Nonetheless, the proposed
preservation metadata set seems to be
more suitable for the library community
than for other communities. In this article
I have tried to articulate some of the main
requirements for the records and archival
community in preserving (archival)
records. Based on this, the conclusion has
to be that some adaptations to the model
and metadata set would be necessary to
meet these requirements.This concerns
requirements such as the concept of
authenticity of records, information on
the business context of records and on
relationships between records (`documen-
tary context'). In assessing the needs of
the records and archival community, the
ISO records management standard 15489
may serve as a very useful framework.
Such an exercise would also include a test
for applicability of the model and meta-
data set for record-creating organisations
and, as such, broaden the view of the
OAIS model. In a records environment,
preservation already starts at the design
stage and requires comprehensive lifecycle
management, not limited to an archival
institution, but including all stages of the
records lifecycle.This again supports the
proposal to have a metadata set for the full
OAIS model that will include its manage-
ment aspects.
multimedia document;
- relationships between digital compo-
nents, e.g. those components that contain
elements of one (or more) intellectual
object(s); although this will implicitly
include relationships between the digital
components and the intellectual object
of which they contain parts, this relation-
ship should be described explicitly.
T
he first two categories will be fixed
relationships, because they are inhe-
rent in the nature of the intellectual
object (and can be considered as an
example of significant properties).The
relationships of the latter category will
change over time, because technology
will evolve and as a consequence the
digital components will change.
Retention
A
n interesting issue for archivists is
`Archival Retention'. Unfortunately
it is only touched upon rather superficially
(p.42) within the area of the Ingest Process
and it seems to refer not specifically to
(archival) records, but to all kinds of
objects. Confusing terminology again.
Although one may look at a repository
based on the OAIS model as one that
contains information objects that should
be preserved forever, one may also con-
sider the possibility of applying the model
to more dynamic environments, such as
record-creating organisations. In this case,
the issue of appraisal and disposition of
records has to be included. In this context
the recently published records management
standard (ISO 15489) may serve as a use-
ful framework. It would make the OAIS
model even more widely applicable.
Finally
S
ummarising the above comments, I
think the proposed set of preservation
metadata provides an important building
block in the search for preservation strate-
gies. It is a first attempt to elaborate on
the OAIS information model by synthesi-