Digital Object module use

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Ben Goldman

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Feb 12, 2015, 4:43:12 PM2/12/15
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Hello all,

I'd be interested to hear more from those of you using the Digital Object module in ASpace. How are you using it, to support what aims. Are you using it to get <dao> tags in EAD, for recording existence of digital surrogates (linking or not), for notating born-digital material or even web archives? Are you using the grouping feature in the module to organize digital object hierarchies? We're trying to sort out what should be our best practices around using this module (or not) to support some of the scenarios I just mentioned.

-Ben

Ben Goldman
Digital Records Archivist
Penn State University Libraries

Carolyn Runyon

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Feb 25, 2015, 9:49:04 PM2/25/15
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Good question!

We’ve decided not use the digital object module in ASpace in an effort not to duplicate the work we have to do to upload our digital objects to CONTENTdm. If ASpace decided to grow the digital object module (with embedded viewers/players OAI-PMH harvest ability,etc.), we’d definitely take advantage of the module. As it stands, I can’t justify the extra work it would take to maintain our digital object data and metadata in 2 different systems.

Maybe others have a different view?

Carolyn

 
Carolyn Runyon, Digital Archivist
Special Collections & University Archives
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN  37403
csg...@mocs.utc.edu, (423) 425-4503
Dept. 6456, LIB 439C




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Jarrett Drake

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Sep 28, 2015, 9:55:25 AM9/28/15
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Hi everyone,

I'm reviving this thread in case others have more thoughts about the digital objects module and its utility in regards to born-digital material. If you're using it in your workflow, I'd be curious to know how. Please contact me here or offline.

Best,
Jarrett

Callahan, Maureen

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Oct 2, 2015, 3:59:26 PM10/2/15
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I’m really glad you resuscitated this thread, Jarrett, because we’re talking a lot about this at Yale. 

A lot of work is happening right now on integration of archival description in our database of record (ArchivesSpace) with our digital preservation system (Preservica) and our access system for digitized objects (Blacklight). 

Here are some common questions that have come up and my answers to them:

1. Are we “managing” digital objects in ArchivesSpace?
This depends on what you mean by managing. 
I cannot think of a situation where ArchivesSpace would be the only layer between metadata and a file system (other than, possibly, very basic digitization activities), so no, we are not doing that kind of management in ArchivesSpace.
But I think ArchivesSpace digital objects WILL be the glue between two different management systems — ArchivesSpace (for the description of functions like accessioning and description) and Preservica/FindIt/Quicksearch/Kaltura/HathiTrust/what-friggin-ever where more robust information about complex objects, preservation actions, technical facts about the object, etc. are stored.
As I see it, the best thing that AS digital objects could do would be to be a place to keep URIs so that we can sync the systems together. If we think about it this way, this whole project becomes a lot less complicated, I think.

2. What is the good of the digital object record?
The digital object record lets us keep structured metadata in ArchivesSpace about digital objects that can serialize as ead//dao or METS. It can also be accessed through the API as structured, JSON objects. We had discussed the idea of using “location of copies” and “location of originals” notes as a possible alternative to DOs, but there is an advantage to storing information about digital objects in a DO record rather than having a URL as part of a string in a note. Notes are difficult to query and manage; digital objects are a bit easier.
There’s also a bit of extra metadata that can be created/stored in the digital object record that can help our public interfaces know what to do with these links to other system, which is pretty useful.

3. Should digital surrogates and born-digital records be treated differently in ArchivesSpace?
If the DO is just the glue between the description of the object and the system that gives you the object, then no. I think that they need to be described differently, because there’s a different facticity to them as records, but I don’t think that they need to be managed differently. And since there are really pretty good attributes and elements on the digital object record to help us determine what kind of a digital object we’re dealing with and how it should load/display, I don’t think it’s a problem to have many digital objects on an archival object that point to different manifestations in different systems.

So here’s what our digital objects look like:
Title: display title from archival object (title and date) — N.B., this is only because it’s required. I’d prefer not to have the duplicate data.
Publish: publish status from archival object
Digital object identifier: handle to object in Blacklight/Preservica/Whatever

Most of the creation of digital objects will be done through scripting or automatic integration between systems.
Since we’re not pointing to actual files in actual systems, we won’t be using FIleURIs.

We may include more metadata to indicate whether this is a digital object that takes the user to an access system or whether it takes a staff member to the place where she can do preservation actions (this will also affect the publish element).

What about everyone else? How are you using digital objects? By the way, we’re still in the middle of figuring this out, so the above only represents my thinking and current understanding of the direction at Yale.

Maureen

Prom, Christopher John

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Oct 2, 2015, 4:38:30 PM10/2/15
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Maureen,

This matches more or less what the Univeristy of Illinois Archives is currently doing and we plan to continue with this in the future.  The only additional point I'd like to make is that we are following the rule of "one digital object record per each top level resource record."  

In this way, the DO record operates as minimal descriptive record for an entire archival information packet, with the majority of the technical and item level descriptive metadata handled in the preservation repository and DO access systems, which leverages the advantages of both systems.

Chris Prom
University of Illinois Archives

Max Eckard

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Oct 2, 2015, 5:12:01 PM10/2/15
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Hello everyone,

It sounds like we're pretty much on the same page as Yale and Illinois. Acknowledging that we're also still thinking about this because we aren't live with ASpace yet, it's safe to say that our digital object records will be very minimal, just a "simple" digital with the title and a pointer to an AIP in DSpace/Hydra (where it may be more complex). We're thinking of the DO module more as a place to record location than as a place to "manage" digital objects or the events that happen to them. 

While we have mostly been considering born-digital use cases so far, I suspect we'll follow the same principles for digitized material as well. Maureen's idea of describing born-digital and digitized records differently seems reasonable.

The plan here is to get descriptive information for digital objects in our repository from the resource record. We'll have technical information from Archivematica, and that sit "chipped dog"-style with the digital object in the repository. 

We're also investigating expanding rights in resource records so that ASpace can be the system of record for machine-actionable PREMIS rights statements coming from Archivematica. These would extend to digital object instances, although we still have questions about how exactly that would work. We still intend to have human-readable Conditions Governing Access notes as well. 

Thanks! Have a nice weekend!
Max

Max Eckard
Assistant Archivist for Digital Curation


Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
734/763-7518

Jarrett Drake

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Oct 8, 2015, 5:07:55 PM10/8/15
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Thank you to everyone who responded to this revived thread. At my institution, we are currently discussing how to best optimize the DO module without replicating data in other systems. We aren't live with these other systems yet, but my hunch is that the DO module will function similarly to how Chris described the plans at the University of Illinois. In our case, we're thinking that each AIP would be represented as a digital object component that is nested within the digital object record titled after the collection's call number. The DO component would be very thin; likely just identifiers (an absolute path to the location of preservation copies) and extents.

Like others, we'd likely do the actual management elsewhere. I like Maureen's phrase about the DO module being the "glue" that holds together disparate systems.

Thanks again!

Jarrett

Ben Goldman

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Oct 8, 2015, 8:50:12 PM10/8/15
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I've read through this thread a couple of times now, and I keep coming back to Maureen's question "what is the good of the digital object record?" If most of the fields and related data in the DO replicate fields and data in the archival object (and I agree they do, and I don't necessarily want them to), I have been wondering why not simply add a digital object identifier field to the archival object? It seems a rather unwieldy way just to add URIs. But maybe there is something more to it I'm missing (or we're not discussing)?

-Ben



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Ben Goldman
Digital Records Archivist
Penn State University Libraries

Jarrett Drake

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Oct 9, 2015, 2:49:01 PM10/9/15
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I think the use cases will vary in response to your question, Ben, but for our context, I am anticipating that ArchivesSpace will hold our canonical administrative data for all our archival collections; accessions, donors (agents), digital objects, and possibly locations. There will likely be other application environments (BitCurator, Hydra) in which we'll do more granular activities, but I foresee ArchivesSpace as our application in which these different pieces are woven together. I do not foresee us relying on the Resources module much, but if we were, then I see your point about not using the DO module in this exact fashion, and instead simply adding a DO instance directly within a resource record. However, our descriptive data currently live outside of AT and may well live outside of ArchivesSpace; this decision and many others will be made in concert with our library systems team.

Jarrett


Michael Shallcross

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Nov 18, 2015, 3:08:24 PM11/18/15
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Hi, all; this thread was very useful in our thinking of how we might employ the digital object module in our ArchivesSpace-Archivematica-DSpace Workflow Integration project.  Just wanted to share a recent blog post that details our current thoughts: 


It would be great to hear thoughts/reactions--thanks!

Best,

MIke


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Michael Shallcross, CA
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Bentley Historical Library
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