Skills for significant properties: debating pragmatics and philosophy in an area of digital curation – DigCCur Conference 2009
Stephen Grace, Sheila Anderson and Christopher Lee chaired a session on significant properties at the DigCCur Conference 2009 at Chapel Hill, NC USA on April 3 2009.
Data Without Meaning: Establishing the Significant Properties of Digital Research – iJDC Paper
An expanded copy of Knight & Pennock’s iPres 2008 paper was published in the International Journal of Digital Curation, Vol 4, No 1 (2009).
Data Without Meaning: Establishing the Significant Properties of Digital Research – iPRES 2008 paper
Gareth Knight presented a paper on significant properties at the iPRES 2008 Conference at the British Library, London
DCC 101 workshop
Stephen Grace and Gareth Knight led a session on significant properties at the DCC 101 workshop.
Significant Properties and their Role in Digital Preservation, IS&T Archiving 2008 conference
Stephen Grace (CeRch), Neil Grindley (JISC) and Grant Young (TASI) led a session on significant properties at the IS&T Archiving 2008 conference in Bern, Switzerland on June 24 – 27, 2008
What to Preserve?: Significant Properties of Digital Objects
Helen Hockx-Yu and Gareth Knight reported on the JISC/BL/DPC workshop on significant properties, which took place on April 7, 2008 at the British Library Conference Centre, London. The report was published in the International Journal of Digital Curation, Vol 3, No 1 (2008)
Digital Audio Recordings Testing Report
This report examines the notion of significant properties as it applies to digital audio. It seeks to identify the significant properties of audio that must be maintained by examining each of its constituent elements and analyzing their designated function.
Structured Text Testing Report
This report examines the notion of significant properties as it applies to structured text documents. It seeks to identify the significant properties of structured text that must be maintained by examining each of its constituent elements and analysing its designated function.
Raster Images Testing Report
This report examines the notion of significant properties as it applies to raster images, or bitmaps. It seeks to identify the significant properties of raster images that must be maintained by examining each of its constituent elements and analyzing their designated function.
E-mail Testing Report
This report examines the notion of significant properties as it applies to electronic mail, a common form of digital communication. It seeks to identify the significant properties of email that must be maintained by examining each of its constituent elements and analyzing their designated function.
InSPECT Final Report
The final report of the InSPECT project describes the work undertaken and lessons learnt
InSPECT Framework Report – final version
The final version of the assessment framework utilizes design methods to identify and evaluate the functions performed by an Object in its current manifestation and re-develop it to meet the needs of other stakeholders, such as a curator. It builds upon a modified version of the Function-Behaviour-Structure (FBS) framework.
InSPECT Framework Report – first version
The first version of the assessment framework used a top-down approach to analysing an Information Object. Once the evaluator has reached the property-level, they would work with one or more stakeholders in the Designated Community to analyse the acceptable boundaries necessary to achieve their stated objectives. The report has been superseded by a later version of the Framework Report, but is provided for reference.
InSPECT Significant Properties Data Dictionary
The report outlines a data dictionary for the description of significant properties of one or more digital objects, indicating the type of information that may be recorded and the method in which it may be structured.
Deciding Factors: Issues that influence decision-making on significant properties
This paper introduces four factors that may contribute to the understanding of value and are likely to influence the decision-making process that contribute to selection of properties of significance.
Significant Properties Report
This report explores the current versions, views, and visions of the concept at the core of ‘significant properties’ by collecting all discussions of the concept, analysing them and developing a clear, consistent articulation of the concept.
The InSPECT (Investigating the Significant Properties of Electronic Content Over Time) project was funded by JISC between March 2007 and March 2009 under the Repositories and Preservation programme. It was led by the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) Executive until its demise in March 2008, and then by the Centre for e-Research (CeRch) at Kings College London. CeRch was assisted by project partners at The National Archives (TNA).
The InSPECT project utilised design methods to identify the functions performed by an Object in its current manifestation and evaluate if they are required by other stakeholders. It adapted the Function-Behaviour-Structure (FBS) framework, a framework developed by John Gero to assist engineers and designers with the process of creating and re-engineering systems. By considering the purpose of the object in conjunction with the stakeholder that uses it, an auditor may determine the functionality and, by extension the properties, that are necessary to maintain over time. By focussing upon the properties that are essential, the institution may adopt a preservation strategy that is faster, simpler to perform and less costly than alternative strategies that maintain all elements of the object. Further information on the InSPECT methodology may be found in the InSPECT Framework Report.
The fundamental challenge of digital preservation is to preserve the accessibility and authenticity of digital objects over time and domains, and across changing technical environments. This requires acceptance both of the inevitability of change, and of the inherent separation of the logical information object from its physical environment. Any successful preservation strategy must reconcile the requirement to maintain the fixity/integrity of that logical information object, with the inevitable transformation of the technical environment in which the object resides.
Significant properties are those aspects of the digital object which must be preserved over time in order for the digital object to remain accessible and meaningful. An institution with curatorial responsibility for digital objects cannot assert or demonstrate the continued authenticity of those objects over time, or across transformation processes, unless it can identify, measure, and declare the specific properties on which that authenticity depends. Nor can it undertake the preservation actions required to maintain access to those objects, unless it can characterise their current technical representations with sufficient detail.