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Glossary of Terms

  • Archival Information Package (AIP): An Open Archival Information System (OAIS) term which describes the information or content which is stored by an archive. In the case of York University, this is an object or asset and its associated metadata stored in a given preservation platform.

  • Bit: A bit is the basic unit of information in computing. It can have only one of two values commonly represented as either a 0 or 1. The two values can be interpreted as any two-valued attribute (yes/no, on/off, etc).[1]

  • Bit-Level Preservation: A term used to denote a very basic level of preservation of an object or asset as it was submitted (literally preservation of the bits forming a digital resource). It may include maintaining onsite and offsite backup copies, virus checking, fixity-checking, and periodic refreshment to new storage media. Bit preservation is not digital preservation but it does provide one building block for the more complete set of digital preservation practices and processes that ensure the survival of digital content as well as its usability, display, context and interpretation over time.[1]

  • Bit-Stream Copying: A bit-by-bit copy.

  • Born Digital: An object or asset that originated digitally.

  • Checksum Values: A unique value created algorithmically (i.e., MD5/SHA1) of an object or asset (see also Fixity).

  • Conversion Path: See Migration Activities.

  • Dissemination Information Package (DIP): An Open Archival Information System (OAIS) term which describes the information or content which is sent to a user when it is requested. In the case of York University, this is a derivative of object or asset, or in some cases the object or asset, that is provided to a user when it is requested in a given preservation platform.

  • Emulation: A means of overcoming technological obsolescence of hardware and software by developing techniques for imitating obsolete systems on future generations of computers.[1]

  • File Format: A file format is a standard way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file. It tells the computer how to display, print, process, and save the information. It is dictated by the application program which created the file, and the operating system under which it was created and stored. Some file formats are designed for very particular types of data, others can act as a container for different types. A particular file format is often indicated by a file name extension containing three or four letters that identify the format.[1] 

  • Fixity: A method for ensuring the integrity of a file and verifying it has not been altered or corrupted. During transfer, an archive may run a fixity check to ensure a transmitted file has not been altered en route. Within the archive, fixity checking is used to ensure that digital files have not been altered or corrupted. It is most often accomplished by computing checksums such as MD5, SHA1 or SHA256 for a file and comparing them to a stored value.[1]

  • Ingest: the process of turning a Submission Information Package (SIP) into an Archival Information Package (AIP), i.e. putting data into a digital archive.[1] 

  • ISO Standard 16363: The ISO standard of auditing and certifying a Trusted Digital Repository.

  • Long term preservation: Continued access to an object or asset, or at least to the information contained in them, indefinitely.[1]

  • Metadata: Information which describes significant aspects of an object or asset that helps aid in the discoverability of the object or asset, as well as aids in the management or preservation of an object or asset over time.

  • Migration Activities: A means of overcoming technological obsolescence by transferring digital resources from one hardware/software generation to the next. The purpose of migration is to preserve the intellectual content of digital objects and to retain the ability for clients to retrieve, display, and otherwise use them in the face of constantly changing technology. Migration differs from the refreshing of storage media in that it is not always possible to make an exact digital copy or replicate original features and appearance and still maintain the compatibility of the resource with the new generation of technology.[1]

  • Open Archival Information System (OAIS): An Archive, consisting of an organization, which may be part of a larger organization, of people and systems, that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available for a Designated Community. It meets a set of responsibilities, as defined in section 4 of the OAIS standard that allows an OAIS Archive to be distinguished from other uses of the term “Archive”. The term “Open” in OAIS is used to imply that the OAIS standards are developed in open forums, and it does not imply that access to the Archive is unrestricted. The OAIS abbreviation is also used commonly to refer to the Open Archival Information System reference model standard which defined the term. The standard is a conceptual framework describing the environment, functional components, and information objects associated with a system responsible for the long-term preservation. As a reference model, its primary purpose is to provide a common set of concepts and definitions that can assist discussion across sectors and professional groups and facilitate the specification of archives and digital preservation systems. It has a very basic set of conformance requirements that should be seen as minimalist. OAIS was first approved as ISO Standard 14721 in 2002 and a 2nd edition was published in 2012. Although produced under the leadership of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), it had major input from libraries and archives.[1] 

  • PREMIS (Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies): A standard for digital preservation metadata.[1]

  • Preservation Levels: Specifically refers to the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s (NDSA) Levels of Preservation. It is a matrix that outlines four levels of preservation with five corresponding functional areas.

  • PRONOM (Public Record Office and Nôm 喃): A database of file formats, software products and other technical components required to support long-term access to electronic records and other digital objects of cultural, historical or business value.[1]

  • Trusted Digital Repository (TDR): A trusted digital repository has been defined as having "a mission to provide reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources to its designated community, now and into the future." The TDR must include the following seven attributes: compliance with the reference model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), administrative responsibility, organizational viability, financial sustainability, technological and procedural suitability, system security, and procedural accountability. The concept has been an important one particularly in relation to certification of digital repositories.[1]

  • Submission Information Package (SIP): An Open Archival Information System (OAIS) term which describes the information or content which is submitted to an archive. In the case of York University, this is an object or asset that is submitted to a given preservation platform.

  • York Digital Journals (YDJ): York University Libraries’ journal publishing platform.

  • YorkSpace: York University Libraries’ open access institutional repository. 

  • York University Digital Library (YUDL): York University Libraries’ cultural heritage object repository.


Reviewed: April 29, 2024