Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A very brief introduction to FLAME - ICPSR's File-Level Archival Management Engine
The goal of the project is to re-tool ICPSR's primary technology infrastructure so that is file-oriented rather than "study"-oriented. This is essential to ICPSR's future for two main reasons.
One, more and more of our content doesn't fit nicely into ICPSR's classic "survey data and codebook" model. We're starting to handle content like classroom observation sessions (video) and open-ended textual content (qualitative data), and even some of our existing content (TIGER/Line files, Census 2000 summary files, CCEERC reports) does not fit into the current object model without much contortion.
Two, the file-level is a much better fit for mapping business functions to the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model (pink book), and for conforming to best practices, such as the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification checklist. For example, if we want to be able to demonstrate trustworthiness when it comes to the mapping from a file we deliver on the web site to a file we have in archival storage to a file that was deposited, we need to collect information and manage content at the file level.
I've been looking at the wiki for Archivematica, a site that I learned about from Nancy McGovern. They've created a use-case and one or more related microservices for many of the boxes and connectors in the OAIS reference model. I like the idea of linking the software directly to the OAIS reference model like this, and I'm intending to make great use of the Archivematica work to help us here.
Clip art credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bycp/5690269952/sizes/s/in/photostream/