SPIRT Recordkeeping Metadata Project - Reports

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

Report on the 1998-99 Strategic Partnerships with Industry – Research & Training (SPIRT) Project, Recordkeeping Metadata Standards for Managing and Accessing Information Resources in Networked Environments Over Time for Government, Commerce, Social and Cultural Purposes

Executive Summary

Records document the actions of government, organisations and individuals. Managing records and other document-like information objects (DIOs) in networked environments depends on inextricably linking them to authoritative metadata from the point of creation. Without a rules and standards infrastructure equivalent to the bibliographic and quality assurance regime in the paper world, the integrity, transparency and accessibility of such electronic information resources cannot be assured over time. Initiatives like the Dublin Core and Warwick Framework aim to establish generic metadata sets and cross-sectoral frameworks for applying generic and sector-specific metadata. The 1998-99 Strategic Partnership with Industry – Research & Training (SPIRT) Recordkeeping Metadata Research Project aimed to establish standard interoperable recordkeeping metadata for application in such frameworks. It developed a standardised set of interoperable recordkeeping metadata elements, classified according to purpose, and mapped against related generic and sector-specific metadata sets.

The Project was jointly funded by the Australian Research Council and the industry partners, a National Archives of Australia led Records and Archives Coalition, involving State Records NSW, Queensland State Archives, Records Management Association of Australia, and the Australian Council of Archives.

The main objectives of the Project were:

  • to codify, ie specify and standardise, the full range of recordkeeping metadata needed to manage records in electronic networked environments to meet current and future requirements for access to essential evidence
  • to classify metadata elements according to their role in managing records in order to support decision making about what metadata to capture, and to assist in managing related risks (ie to enable people to make business cases about what level of functionality to build into their recordkeeping systems based on considerations like
    • how robust does this record need to be?
    • does it have to persist over long periods of time?
    • how sensitive are related terms and conditions re access and use?
    • how important is it to track and document its use?)
  • to support interoperability with generic metadata standards, eg the Dublin Core and other sector-specific sets
  • to support initiatives in relation to information locator systems, eg the Australian Government Locator Service

The main deliverable of the Project was the Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Schema (RKMS) which 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.

Research Team

Sue McKemmish, Chief Investigator, Monash University (1998-99)
Ann Pederson, Chief Investigator, University of New South Wales (1998)
Steve Stuckey, Partner Chief Investigator, National Archives of Australia
Glenda Acland, Research Consultant (1998-99)
Luisa Moscato, Researcher, National Archives of Australia (1998)
Kate Cumming, Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) holder (1998-99)
Barbara Reed, Consultant, Recordkeeping Systems Pty Ltd (1999)
Nigel Ward, DSTC Monash University (1999)

Steering Committee

Research Team
Adrian Cunningham, National Archives of Australia (1998-99)
David Roberts, State Records Authority NSW (1998)
Tony Newton, State Records Authority of NSW (1998-99)
Lee McGregor, Queensland State Archives (1998-99)
Dennis Wheeler, Records Management Association of Australia (1998-99)
Gavan McCarthy, Australian Council of Archives and Australian Science Archives Project (1998-99)

Australian Expert Group


Linda Bird, DSTC
Margaret Burns, ACA/ASA Descriptive Standards Committee
Adrian Cunningham, National Archives of Australia & Chair, AGLS Working Group
Chris Hurley, Chief Archivist, National Archives of New Zealand
Tony Leviston, Tony Newton & Catherine Robinson, State Records NSW
Dagmar Parer, Chair, Joint ACA/ASA Descriptive Standards Committee
Barbara Reed, Recordkeeping Systems Pty Ltd
Frank Upward, Monash University
Nigel Ward, DSTC, Monash University
Andrew Wilson, National Archives of Australia

International Referees


David Bearman, Archives and Museum Informatics
Wendy Duff, University of Toronto
Anne Gilliland-Swetland, University of California
Hans Hofman, National Archives, Netherlands
John McDonald, National Archives of Canada
Nancy McGovern, Consultant & University College London.

Full Report

Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Schema Version 1.0


About || Methodology || Deliverables || Ongoing Research || People || Publications || Reports || Glossary

Created on , Last modified on