Structure of the digital archive system


The state of the art in digital archive systems

Basic functions of archive systems:

  • Evidence
  • Archiving
  • Search
  • Further functions which adequately illustrate the work methods of the scientific disciplines

Furthermore, method-specific functions will be needed for appropriate research-based archive systems in order to solve issues, as for example:

  • Search
  • Classification
  • Data-mining
  • Region-related analysis

Structure of the system

This structure reveals three basic types of use:

  • Manipulation
    • Management of data and metadata (done by student assistants and professional researchers)
    • Modification of classification structures (professional researchers)
  • Retrieval (main scenario)
    • Public users and professional researchers
    • Full text search, use of hierarchic approaches
    • Retrieval component to  arrange usable information out of numerous fragmentary information
    • Provides mechanisms of navigation for the manifold access structure (mostly adjacent content; e.g. data of the same contributor)
  • Connection to web portals
    • Arranging bits of information to small articles (for certain topics)
    • Generating metadata in certain standard formats e.g. METS, OAl, and others


Use of already existing merchantable software solutions for digital archives

Questions which arise are:

  • Can the systems take account of the particular structure of research archives?
  • Bear these solutions appropriate efficiency?
  • Allow these solutions frictionless cooperation with the university-run IT structure?
  • will the agreements concerning sustainable service and care of digital data be redeemed? (cf. “Rostocker Modell” see also target settings and sustainability)

Arguments for not using merchantable software for WossiDiA:

  • Expenses for licences, updates, training, scheduled and corrective maintenance
  • Application software would have to be specially and wastefully fitted as to fit in the structure of the data logging process
  • How such a system could process the vast amount of highly correlated data in a user-friendly, way can hardly be estimated
  • The available plug-ins (e.g. GIS) cannot guarantee for all the desired features, from a professional’s point of view

Use of international standardisations

  • Common data standards for  methods used in libraries will be met with the adaptation of the thesaurus (catchword file, Dewey Decimal Classification)
  • CIDOC (CRM) has proven suitable for processing the complexly linked term- and object structure of Wossidlo’s collection, since:
    • it was developed for data exchange between museums (and ideally archives as well, thus, WossiDiA is planned be linked with ethnologic museums)
    • it constitutes an ISO standard which allows monitored exchange of information in the field of cultural heritage

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