Metadata, literally "data about data," that are associated with either an information system or an information object for purposes of description, administration, legal requirements, technical functionality, use and usage and preservation, play a critical role in ensuring the creation, management, preservation and use of trustworthy records. Recordkeeping metadata, of which one key type is archival description, play a particularly important role in documenting the various contexts (juridical-administrative, provenancial, procedural, documentary and technological) within which records are created and kept as they move across space and time.

Issues relating to the creation, capture, management and preservation of adequate metadata are, therefore, integral to any research study addressing the reliability and authenticity of permanent records, regardless of the community or agency within which they are being created. The Description Cross-domain Task Force is addressing these issues on several fronts.

Among its main activities are:

  • Development of a Metadata Schema Registry:
    1. To register, unambiguously, relevant metadata schemes and sets; to evaluate each against the Benchmark and Baseline requirements generated by InterPARES 1; and to make recommendations for how each might be extended or otherwise revised to address the reliability, authenticity and preservation needs of records created within the domain, community or sector to which they pertain.
    2. To provide a standardized framework by which any metadata schema or set could be assessed for its ability to address these needs, and which could be adopted by standards-setting bodies.
    3. To generate analytical data that will be provided to the ISO working group (ISO TC46/SC11-WG1) that is developing the draft Recordkeeping Metadata Standard (ISO 23081).
  • Development of a Metadata Specification Model:
    1. To identify an overall set of metadata requirements that specify what metadata need to be created, how, and by whom at all points within the Chain of Preservation and Business-driven Recordkeeping Models being developed by the IP2 Modeling Cross-domain Task Force.
    2. To develop a set of specifications for automated tools that can be used to assist with the creation, capture, management and preservation of essential metadata for active and preserved records.

  • Development of a Literary Warrant Database:
    1. To identify existing literary warrant (i.e., the mandate from law, professional best practices, professional literature and other social sources) requiring the creation and continued maintenance of archival description and other metadata supporting the accuracy, reliability, authenticity and preservation of records.
    2. To integrate this warrant into recommendations made by the Description and other InterPARES 2 Task Forces with regard to evaluating, extending or revising existing descriptive and metadata schemas as well as promoting the Metadata Specification Model.

    3. The Literary Warrant Database can be found here.


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