Significant characteristics

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Main Page > Documentation > Format policies > Significant characteristics

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Significant characteristics by media type[edit]


Within the Archivematica project, the term 'significant properties' has been superseded by 'significant characteristics' because it has a wider scope, see Significance is in the Eye of the Stakeholder (Dappert and Farquhar, 2009). It is also more consistent with the terminology used in the eXtensible Characterization Language. However, in most instances the two terms ('significant properties' or 'significant characteristics') are largely synonymous and best defined by Andrew Wilson:

Other definitions:

  • "Significant Properties: Those technical characteristics agreed by the archive or by the collection manager to be most important for preserving the digital object over time." Cedars Guide to: Digital Collection Management, 2002, p. 24
  • "Significant properties are those aspects of a digital record that must be preserved over time in order for it to remain accessible and meaningful." Framework for the definition of significant properties, Gareth Night, 2008 (Inspect Project document), p. 3
  • "Transformational Information Property: An Information Property whose preservation is regarded as being necessary but not sufficient to verify that any Non-Reversible Transformation has adequately reserved information content. This could be important as contributing to evidence about Authenticity. Such Information Properties will need to be associated with specific Representation Information, including Semantic Information, to denote how they are encoded and what they mean. (The term ‘significant property’, which has various definitions in the literature, is sometimes used in a way that is consistent with its being a Transformational Information Property)." OAIS Draft Recommended Standard Pink Book, August 2009, p. 1-15


InsPECT: (Investigating the Significant Properties of Electronic Content over Time)

XCL - eXtensible Characterisation Language

PLANETS (Preservation and Long-Term Access through Networked Services)


Other research