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Contribution Details

Type Dissertation
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Information system agnostic ancestry for digital objects
Organization Unit
Authors
  • S J B Heuscher
Supervisors
  • Abraham Bernstein
  • M Guercio
Language
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Faculty Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Information Technology
Date January 2010
Abstract Text More and more information is becoming available in digital form, most of it derived from digital sources. Digital information is made available as digital objects composed of a sequence of bits and managed by information systems. To date, these digital objects have no independent identification which can be refered outside of a specific information system. However, they normally outlive these systems and can be copied to other systems. In order for the ancestry of digital information to span more than one generation, each source, and therefore each digital object, must provide information on its ancestry. This information needs to be accessible independent of a specific information system. In this thesis, we present the theoretical foundation for the identification of digital objects independent of information systems and for enhancing digital objects with ancestry information. The ancestry information allows the identification of digital objects used in the creation of the digital object and its ancestors. We discuss the existing definition of a digital object, its equality relationships, and its identification through intrinsic properties. For the representation of ancestry relationships we propose the application of the graph theory and discuss possibilities of embedding digital object identification in existing identifier systems. We specify requirements for the information system agnostic integration of digital object ancestry with the digital object and propose a method which implements these requirements. Our method is called SIMPLE (Simple IdentifiableMetadata with Persistent Lineage Embedding) and integrates the digital object with its metadata so that these metadata become an integral part of the digital object independent of the information system. The claims are validated with a prototypical implementation of SIMPLE and its deployment in a case study with the State Archives of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. In this case, the ability to document the ancestry of a digital object results in transparency and traceability in the processing of the digital object.
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Additional Information Information system agnostic ancestry for digital objects / by Stephan Jakob Benedikt Heuscher. - Zürich, 2010