SPIRT Recordkeeping Metadata Project - Deliverables

Full Title: SPIRT Recordkeeping Metadata Project
Dates: 1998 – 1999


Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Schema

The main deliverable of the Project so far is the Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Schema (RKMS). Development of the Schema was funded by the Australian Research Council and industry partners through the 1998-99 SPIRT Recordkeeping Metadata Research Project, Recordkeeping Metadata Standards for Managing and Accessing Information Resources in Networked Environments Over Time for Government, Commerce, Social and Cultural Purposes.

The RKMS provides:

  • a standardised set of structured recordkeeping metadata elements;
  • a framework for developing and specifying recordkeeping metadata standards;
  • a framework for reading or mapping metadata sets in ways which can enable their semantic interoperability by establishing equivalences and correspondences that can provide the basis for semi-automated translation between metadata schemas.

Input to Australian National Standard

Within the Australian archival community the joint Australian Society of Archivists/Australian Council of Archives Committee on Descriptive Standards has endorsed the Recordkeeping Metadata Schema (RKMS) as a framework for the Committee’s future work on the development of domain specific recordkeeping metadata and archival descriptive standards. The Standards Australia Committee IT/21, responsible for AS4390 Australian Standard: Records Management, recently adopted a proposal by the Chair of this Committee to develop the Recordkeeping Metadata Schema into a framework Australian Standard for Recordkeeping Metadata. A sub-committee of IT/21, chaired by Adrian Cunningham, has been set up to oversee the development of the standard.

Conceptual and Relationship Models; Records in Business and Socio-Legal Contexts

Three high level Conceptual Models have been developed to provide the conceptual framework for the Project. They model records in their business and socio-legal contexts. Relationship Models have also been developed to depict the complex, multiple relationships that exist between records and records context entities.

Classification of Recordkeeping Metadata by Purpose

In the initial stages of the Project, the recordkeeping requirements that explicitly or implicitly pointed to the need to capture descriptive metadata were identified as being associated with the following range of recordkeeping purposes:

  • Unique identification of records
  • Authentication of records
  • Persistence of records content, structure and context (involving fixing their content, ensuring that their structure can be rendered, and maintaining sufficient context to preserve their meaning over time and beyond their context of creation)
  • Administration or resolution of terms and conditions of access, use and disposal
  • Tracking and documenting of recordkeeping event history
  • Discovery, retrieval and delivery to authorised users together with other types of information resources through common user interfaces
  • Interoperability in networked environments.

Research Project Team member Kate Cumming tested this hypothesis using a methodology based on the analysis of the literary warrant for recordkeeping in standards and statements of best practice. The outcome of her analysis is a Classification of Recordkeeping Metadata by Purpose.

Metadata Concept Maps

Research Project Team member Kate Cumming is developing a series of conceptual maps that provide element to element mapping of the RKMS set with related metadata sets.

The maps enable a comparison of the meaning and purposes of metadata. Common elements, overlaps, redundancies and gaps are identified. Equivalences and correspondences between different sets of metadata are formally identified, and elements are linked to recordkeeping metadata purposes. The maps also enable an evaluation of the adequacy of specific metadata sets for the purposes they are designed to serve, and will provide the basis for interoperability between sets.

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