Archive Portal Europe

donderdag 22 december 2011

DLM Forum’s triennial conference 2011: Interoperability – Applied interoperability: Experiences with reusing records management metadata

Applied interoperability: Experiences with reusing records management
Kuldar Aas, Deputy Chief, Digital Preservation Department, National Archives
of Estonia (Estonia)

Since the National Archives of Estonia also use the Tessella Safety Deposit Box I am always eager to learn from their experience, challenges and solutions.

I had the honor to give a presentation last November at the Estonian Digital Deposit Event in Tallinn, so was already a bit acquainted with the Estonian approach.

Kuldar Aas started by stating that (manual) pre-ingest and ingest procedures are not sustainable when dealing with digital records. Human intervention can’t cope with the data volume. This means that processes need to be automated and that we should reuse records management metadata as much as possible for archival purposes.

Aas offered a two folded solution: 1) focus on the originating ERMS: define strict protocols for transfer and ingest, Submission Information Package (SIP) standards and quality requirements, 2) choose a centralized solution.

The centralized solutions entails tooling for record creators during the pre-ingest and transfer process: the Universal Archiving Module 

Taken from the presentation by Kuldar Aas

A similar debate is present at the National Archives of the Netherlands: what should we automate and how do we go about doing this? Similar to the National Archives of Estonia tools have been developed to aid both archivist and records creator in creating SIP for ingest in the e-Depot and the de facto SIP standard MeDusA is propagated, but there are many issues that cannot be solved by this.

Aas recognizes this by stating that most work will have to be done at the moment of creation. In his conclusions he stated that quality of descriptions cannot be achieved if it is not already available in records management. He also stated that it might be wiser to  not demand to replace the current records management metadata but add something to it instead. Again a similar position.

There were also some practical conclusions:

  • start small: mandatory metadata set in UAM is currently rather limited
  • many agencies and ERMS vendors do not like the idea of prescriptive metadata schemas

Furthermore we should look ahead and at new ideas. The European Interoperability Framework provides new opportunities to develop solutions. Also there is a real need for clever semantic mapping engines, since by and large, semantic operability remains the larger issue in records and archival management. As was proven by the CRKM Metadata Broker (Clever Recordkeeping Metadataproject).

Aas expressed the hope MoReq2010 extensions could explore this venue of semantic interoperability.

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