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Monday, January 16, 2012

Provenance metadata and the OAIS Receive Submission

The FLAME (File-Level Archival Management Engine) project continues to articulate functional requirements for the software system.  So far the process has looked something like this:

  1. Select one of the functional areas of OAIS
  2. Drill down into one of the sub-functions within that area
  3. Enumerate a list of high-level statements that should be true for that sub-function
  4. Translate those high-level statements into medium-level specifications for the software
For example, we tackled one such area before the recent holiday break:
  1. Ingest
  2. Receive Submission
  3. The producer provided basic provenance information at deposit
Of course, this raises the question:  What do we consider "basic provenance information" at the time of deposit?  What information can we collect from the deposited content, and what information do we need to collect from the person performing the deposit?

Here is the draft list we created:
a. FLAME should enable the ability to transfer digital content to ICPSR through web-based file upload
i. Uploading files should NOT require MyData authentication
ii. The act of uploading files serves as a signature for the transfer
b. FLAME should enable the ability to document receipt of content transferred to ICPSR through non-electronic means
i. Date package arrived (required)
ii. Shipping company (required)
iii. Tracking ID number (required)
iv. Other details about the shipment (optional)
c. FLAME should capture the following provenance information from the content provider:
i. Self-reported identity of the content provider, or identity from MyData profile (for electronic transfer)
1. Name of depositor (required)
ii. Self-reported contact information for the depositor, or from MyData profile
1. Email-address (required)
2. Telephone number (optional)
3. Mailing address (optional)
iii. Self-reported descriptive provenance information from the depositor
1. Name or title of deposit (required)
2. Summary or description of the deposit (optional)
3. Name of organization that sponsored the research, or "not applicable" (required)
4. Number of ID of the grant or contract, or "not applicable" (required)
d. FLAME should capture the following provenance information from the files after each content transfer:
i. Date and time at which each file is received
ii. Checksum of each file
iii. MIME type of each file
iv. Original name of each file
v. Packaging information (e.g., file was part of a Zip archive)

What do you think basic provenance information should include?  Does our list look like it captures everything one could reasonably expect to collect at the time of deposit?

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