14.0800 new online: Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Fri Apr 13 2001 - 03:52:54 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 800.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 08:47:29 +0100
             From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <david@ninch.org>
             Subject: Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects: OCLC/RLG White

    News on Networking Cultural Heritage Resources
    from across the Community
    April 11, 2001

                       Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects:
                          A Review of the State of the Art
    A White Paper by the OCLC/RLG Working Group on Preservation Metadata, 2001

    This is a late announcement, but of an important document reviewing the
    "state-of-the-art" of preservation metadata from several nations as the
    first step in building consensus on good practice in implementing metadata
    in support of digital preservation.

    I include here the review by Roy Tennant from "Current Cites" and the
    complete introduction from the publication.

    David Green

    >Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 17:43:12 -0800 (PST)
    >>From: CITES Moderator <citeschk@library.berkeley.edu>
    >To: Multiple recipients of list <cites@library.berkeley.edu>
    > Current Cites (Digital Library
    > SunSITE)
    > Volume 12, no. 3, March
    > 2001
    > Edited by Roy
    > Tennant
    > The Library, University of California, Berkeley,
    > 94720
    > ISSN: 1060-2356

    > Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant


    >OCLC/RLG Working Group on Preservation Metadata. Preservation Metadata for
    >Digital Objects: A Review of the State of the Art A White Paper by the
    >OCLC/RLG Working Group on Preservation Metadata, 2001
    >digitalpreservation/presmeta_wp.pdf). - The title
    >describes the goal of this white paper, and it does it quite well. Digital
    >preservation is a global issue, and the membership and findings of this
    >group reflect this global nature. Exemplars of metadata for the purpose of
    >preserving digital objects are reviewed, including the Open Archival
    >Information System (OAIS) reference model, and metadata element sets from
    >the Research Libraries Group (RLG), the National Library of Australia,
    >CURL Exemplars in Digital Archives (CEDARS), the Networked European
    >Deposit Library (NEDLIB), and Harvard University. The white paper ends by
    >identifying points of convergence between these metadata element sets, and
    >enumerating issues requiring further discussion. - RT

    I. Introduction
    Metadata is routinely defined in accordance with its literal
    interpretation: "data
    about data". More usefully, Day (1998) observes that "metadata is commonly
    as an amplification of traditional bibliographic cataloguing practices in
    an electronic
    environment." In the context of digital information objects, metadata can
    be assigned to
    one of three functional categories (Wendler (1999)):
      Descriptive: facilitating resource discovery and identification
      Administrative: supporting resource management within a collection
      Structural: binding together the components of complex information objects

    Of these three categories, descriptive metadata for electronic resources
    has received
    the most attention - most notably through the Dublin Core metadata
    initiative. However,
    increasing awareness of the challenges posed by digital preservation - the
    retention of digital objects - has underscored metadata needs for digital
    objects beyond
    resource discovery.

    Effective management of all but the crudest forms of digital preservation
    is likely to
    be facilitated by the creation, maintenance, and evolution of detailed
    metadata in support
    of the preservation process. For example, metadata could document the
    processes associated with preservation, specify rights management
    information, and
    establish the authenticity of digital content. It can record the chain of
    custody for a digital
    object, and uniquely identify it both internally and externally in relation
    to the archive in
    which it resides. In short, the creation and deployment of preservation
    metadata is likely
    to be a key component of most digital preservation strategies.

    Several initiatives have addressed the issue of preservation metadata, with
    the result
    that a variety of approaches to its use have emerged. These approaches,
    independently of one another and designed largely to meet particular
    institutional or
    project requirements, nevertheless share several common themes. However,
    they also
    differ on a number of key points. Consequently, the body of current work in
    metadata does not reflect a consensus on best practices for the use of
    metadata in support
    of digital preservation.

    Initiatives such as the Dublin Core have demonstrated the value of
    on metadata issues. In this spirit, the OCLC/RLG Working Group on
    Preservation Metadata was formed to initiate a consensus-building process in
    preservation metadata. Comprised of key stakeholders from a variety of
    institutional and
    geographic backgrounds, the Working Group is charged with developing a
    consensus on
    best practices and common approaches to the use of metadata to facilitate
    the long-term
    retention of digital objects. Using existing work as the foundation and
    starting point for
    its discussion, the Working Group will develop a comprehensive preservation
    framework, describe a set of "essential" preservation metadata elements
    needed to
    support the framework, examine implementation issues associated with
    metadata, and create testbed/pilot applications. The Working Group will
    conclude its work by releasing a set of recommendations reflecting their
    consensus on best practices
    and approaches to the use of metadata to support digital preservation

    This white paper represents the first step of the Working Group's activity.
    Its scope
    includes the following topics:
      definition and illustration of preservation metadata for digital objects
      high-level requirements for a broadly applicable, comprehensive preservation
    metadata framework
      the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model, a potential
    starting point for developing the preservation metadata framework
      review and synthesis of existing preservation metadata approaches
      identification of points of convergence/divergence among existing approaches

    Collectively, these topics constitute both a summary of the "state of the
    art" in
    preservation metadata, and a starting point for the consensus-building
    process in which
    the members of the Working Group will participate.
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