Same as it ever was?  Significant Properties and the preservation of meaning over time Stephen Grace and Gareth Knight Cen...
Why Significant Properties? <ul><ul><ul><li>“ The fundamental challenge of digital preservation is to preserve the accessi...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/2175740608/ Attribution 2.0 Generic
Change we can believe in <ul><ul><ul><li>“ We want to be able to guarantee that for a given object the reformatted version...
InSPECT definition of SPs <ul><ul><ul><li>The characteristics of digital objects that must be preserved over time in order...
Authenticity, integrity, viability <ul><ul><ul><li>Authenticity – is this what it purports to be? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul>...
What is significant about the digital object? <ul><li>How do you distinguish between essential, useful and superfluous? </...
InSPECT approach to determining significance <ul><ul><li>Formal methodology required to guide process of identifying, anal...
Significance is human <ul><ul><li>Need to adopt a relativistic approach to determine aspects that are essential/beneficial...
SP assessment framework in InSPECT <ul><li>Builds on Gero’s  Function-Behaviour-Structure framework </li></ul><ul><li>Thre...
Assessment framework stages <ul><li>Object analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify functions, behaviours to be achieved an...
1. Object Analysis
2. Stakeholder Analysis
3. Reformulation <ul><li>Redevelop object to perform a revised set of functions or enable different behaviours  (e.g. view...
Reformulation in practice http://www.flickr.com/photos/huggerindustries/3885401876/ Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike...
Analysis & reformulation over time
SPs in digital preservation <ul><li>Document technical properties </li></ul><ul><li>Describe intellectual entities </li></...
SPs in repository workflows <ul><li>Availability and adequacy of characterisation tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Partly) man...
Findings of InSPECT <ul><li>Appraisal process required to identify aspects of digital object that are essential </li></ul>...
In conclusion <ul><li>Significant Properties can act as a bridge across time to ensure the persistence of what is importan...
Acknowledgments <ul><li>InSPECT was funded by JISC and was a collaboration between the Centre for </li></ul><ul><li>e-Rese...
Contact us <ul><li>Stephen Grace </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for e-Research </li></ul><ul><li>King’s College London </li></ul...
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Same as it ever was? Significant Properties and the preservation of meaning over time

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Presentation describing the methodology adopted by the JISC funded InSPECT project to determine the set of technical properties that are significant for preservation over time

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Same as it ever was? Significant Properties and the preservation of meaning over time

  1. 1. Same as it ever was? Significant Properties and the preservation of meaning over time Stephen Grace and Gareth Knight Centre for e-Research
  2. 2. Why Significant Properties? <ul><ul><ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wilson, 2008 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>InSPECT Significant Properties Report </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/2175740608/ Attribution 2.0 Generic
  4. 4. Change we can believe in <ul><ul><ul><li>“ We want to be able to guarantee that for a given object the reformatted version is equivalent to the original version with regards to some specific set of object characteristics” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clifford Lynch, DLib 1999 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If we change something in order to keep it safe, how do we know we can trust the results? And how do we reassure others? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. InSPECT definition of SPs <ul><ul><ul><li>The characteristics of digital objects that must be preserved over time in order to ensure the continued accessibility, usability, and meaning of the objects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wilson, 2008 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>InSPECT Significant Properties Report </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Authenticity, integrity, viability <ul><ul><ul><li>Authenticity – is this what it purports to be? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Integrity – is this complete and “unaltered”? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Viability – is this suitable for its audience (the Designated Community in OAIS terms)? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. What is significant about the digital object? <ul><li>How do you distinguish between essential, useful and superfluous? </li></ul><ul><li>Impractical to present a single, definitive interpretation of significance </li></ul><ul><li>Many stakeholders may be associated with an object </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stakeholders vary and change over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stakeholders have different needs and knowledge </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. InSPECT approach to determining significance <ul><ul><li>Formal methodology required to guide process of identifying, analysing and recording elements of the Information Object that are essential/beneficial to maintain over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment framework should be rational, consistent in its application, while offering sufficient flexibility for widespread applicability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Previous work performed in field, such as Rothenberg & Bikson’s Needs Analysis, InterPARES1 use of Diplomatics and PLANETS Utility Analysis methodologies </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Significance is human <ul><ul><li>Need to adopt a relativistic approach to determine aspects that are essential/beneficial based upon an interpretation of acceptable loss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>InSPECT builds upon two philosophical approaches: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teleology: study of design and purpose of object – why was it created? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Epistemology: Understand meaning and process by which knowledge is acquired </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In combination, these encourage evaluation of context of creation and information needed to communicate intrinsic knowledge to a new audience (designated community) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. SP assessment framework in InSPECT <ul><li>Builds on Gero’s Function-Behaviour-Structure framework </li></ul><ul><li>Three categories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Function: The design intention or purpose that is performed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviour: The epistemological outcome derived from the function & structure obtained by the stakeholder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure: The structural elements of the Object that enables stakeholder to perform a behaviour </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Behaviour is result of Function and Structure interaction </li></ul>
  11. 11. Assessment framework stages <ul><li>Object analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify functions, behaviours to be achieved and properties needed for their performance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyse functions a particular user group wish to perform </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reformulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perform a revised set of functions or different behaviours </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. 1. Object Analysis
  13. 13. 2. Stakeholder Analysis
  14. 14. 3. Reformulation <ul><li>Redevelop object to perform a revised set of functions or enable different behaviours (e.g. view, use) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Reformulation in practice http://www.flickr.com/photos/huggerindustries/3885401876/ Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic http://www.flickr.com/photos/mvjantzen/4113615243/ Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic
  16. 16. Analysis & reformulation over time
  17. 17. SPs in digital preservation <ul><li>Document technical properties </li></ul><ul><li>Describe intellectual entities </li></ul><ul><li>Determine preservation priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Measure the success of transformations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Choices, outcomes, relation to original </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. SPs in repository workflows <ul><li>Availability and adequacy of characterisation tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Partly) manual activity for the foreseeable future </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Encoding for machine processing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires a metadata schema e.g. extensions to PREMIS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Possibility of standard ‘profiles’ over time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing results and best practice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Always relate to institutional mission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Whose needs are being served? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Findings of InSPECT <ul><li>Appraisal process required to identify aspects of digital object that are essential </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of functional requirements is a pragmatic method for determining acceptable loss </li></ul><ul><li>Significance is fluid – variable and subject to change </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology provides a vocabulary and framework for understanding design process </li></ul>
  20. 20. In conclusion <ul><li>Significant Properties can act as a bridge across time to ensure the persistence of what is important in digital objects through any required transformations </li></ul><ul><li>Grace, Knight and Montague 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>InSPECT Final Report </li></ul>
  21. 21. Acknowledgments <ul><li>InSPECT was funded by JISC and was a collaboration between the Centre for </li></ul><ul><li>e-Research at King’s College London and The National Archives </li></ul>
  22. 22. Contact us <ul><li>Stephen Grace </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for e-Research </li></ul><ul><li>King’s College London </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>020 7848 1972 </li></ul><ul><li>Gareth Knight </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for e-Research </li></ul><ul><li>King’s College London </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>020 7848 1979 </li></ul>www.significantproperties.org.uk www.kcl.ac.uk/iss/cerch

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