SPIRT Recordkeeping Metadata Project - Methodology

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

Methodology


Conceptual Modelling
Literary Warrant Analysis
Mapping Metadata
Metamodelling
Empirical Instantiation

Conceptual Modelling

Conceptual modelling of records in their business and socio-legal context is being undertaken to provide the conceptual framework for the project. So far three high level Conceptual Models have been developed.

Literary Warrant Analysis

Analysis of literary warrant for recordkeeping is being undertaken to discover authoritative sources for the specification of recordkeeping metadata. National and international standards, statements of best practice and research project outcomes are being examined to identify recordkeeping metadata related requirements throughout the continuum. Examples of the literary warrant for recordkeeping include:

  • AS 4390.1-1996 Australian Standard: Records Management, (Homebush: Standards Australia, 1996);
  • Australian Common Practices Manual
  • US Department of Defense DOD 5015.2-STD, Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications (November 1997), http://jitc.fhu.disa.mil/recmgt
  • University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Sciences, “Functional Requirements for Evidence in Recordkeeping”, http://www.sis.pitt.edu/~nhprc/
  • University of British Columbia, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, “Protection of the Integrity of Electronic Records Project”, available from http://www.slais.ubc.ca/users/duranti/;

Mapping Metadata

An iterative process of conceptually mapping the elements of the Recordkeeping Metadata Schema against elements in existing “best practice” generic sets, and elements in recordkeeping specific metadata sets is being undertaken. Examples of the metadata sets being mapped include:

Metamodelling

Metamodelling of metadata elements is undertaken using two formal modelling techniques – the Resource Description Framework, RDF, and Object Role Modelling, ORM.

The initial aim of the metamodelling was to highlight inconsistencies and gaps in the RKMS, enable precise description and rigorous structuring of the RKMS, provide for better specification of relationships to other schemas, and serve as a graphical means of communicating the RKMS.

Further exploration of features such as the use of qualifiers, the extensibility of metadata sets, the depiction of relationships, and the identification, description and mapping of schemas is also being undertaken using metamodelling.

Relationship Models which use RDF to depict the relationships between and amongst the Business, Agents and Records Entities in the RKMS are a particularly significant aspect of this metamodelling.

Empirical Instantiation

Populating metadata elements with examples is undertaken to highlight inconsistencies or gaps in the metadata syntax and semantic expressions within the set and also to provide guidance to potential implementors on the application of the metadata syntax.

The examples selected for inclusion with the final RKMS are fictionalised from ‘real-world’ requirements for records and recordkeeping description.

This process assisted in refining the metadata syntax and semantics and also highlighted areas of further exploration, particularly those associated with persistent identification, the depiction of complex relationships and the identification, description and mapping of inherited metadata schema.

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