Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Other Highlights from the DLF Fall Forum

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to attend the Digital Library Federation's Fall Forum in Palo Alto, California. This is the same conference for which Peter previously announced his session on born digital archives. In addition to Peter's session, there were a number of other sessions that were of interest to those working with digital archives.

I attended the working session on curation micro-services, led by Stephen Abrams of the California Digital Library, Delphine Khanna from University of Pennsylvania, and Katherine Kott from Stanford University. (Patricia Hswe from Pennsylvania State University was supposed to be one of the discussion leaders, but she was unable to attend the Fall Forum.) The micro-services approach is a philosophical and technical methodology for the architecture of digital curation environments. This approach values simplicity and modularity, which allows "minimally sufficient" components to be recombined. Furthermore, the strength of curation micro-services is the relative ease by which they can be redesigned and replaced as necessary. The slides from the beginning part of the session can be found here.

There was also a reading session at the DLF Fall Forum on "Reimagining METS." The session's discussion revolved around ideas put forth in a white paper distributed in advance of the conference. The majority (if not all) of the METS Editorial Board facilitated the discussion, which was very high level and incredibly interesting. Much of the discussion seemed to imply the requirement that METS actually needed to change. The most interesting potential idea that seemed to get a fair amount of traction was to consider whether METS should focus on its strength in packaging and abdicate some of its functionality to other standards that arguably do it better (e.g., OAI-ORE for structure).

On the last day, I went to the workshop on JHOVE2, which is the successor project to the JHOVE framework for characterization. JHOVE2 has an notably different architecture and expanded feature set, which expands characterization to include other processes, including identification, validation, feature extraction, and assessments based on user-defined policies. Additionally, users will be able to define format characterization and validation files for complex digital objects, such as GIS shapefiles. The presenters stated that future development for JHOVE2 will include a GUI to assist in rule set development. From the standpoint of a digital archivist, this tool will be essential in any of the further work that we do.

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