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5. Metadata and maintaining the 'chain of evidence' in processing

One of the primary keys to effective documentation and discovery of digital objects is the use of metadata. Each of the multiple digital objects created for each physical object in the Hampson and Amarna work will have different but cumulative metadata. In addition to providing essential information on provenance, as is true of traditional object metadata, digital metadata should also provide key information on the various processing steps used to create the digital objects.

5.1 Persistent URIs

To organise and link the multiple digital representations, each physical object was assigned a parent persistent URI (universal resource identifier). Persistent identifiers are a means of providing a permanent and unique digital identifier for each specific resource or document stored in the repository. The persistent identifier allows users to locate the appropriate document even when the linked document's physical location has changed, provided that the persistent identifier is maintained with the correct current associated location. (Chan 2004)

It has become increasingly clear that one of the major constraints to effective scholarly use of digital objects lie in their transience and the transience of the point of access. The use of a constant URI provides a vehicle to address these constraints (Marshall 1998). Of course this approach is only successful if the institutional structures under which it was created are maintained. For digital objects at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies all URIs are based on the University of Arkansas Fedora-based repository management system. Each original physical object is given a URI and all derived products branch from this main point of reference (DOI 10708). For example, all digital objects in the Hampson collection are arranged within collection 63 and assigned an individual object number within the institutional DOI. The parent URI for the digital versions of the shell object shown in Figure 7 is 10708/63.44. The OBJ version is 10708/63.45, the PDF is 10708/63.44 and photographs are 10708/63.46 through 10708/63.51.

These objects are part of a much larger collection that the Center is developing of both short- and long-range scanner datasets, satellite images and many other digital objects. The Fedora structure provides an easy vehicle for exposure of the digital objects and their metadata to common search engines (such as Google) as well as to the OAI-PMH. The Open Archives Initiative for Metadata Harvesting provides an open standard for metadata publishing and harvesting (Lagoze et al. 2002; Van de Sompelet al. 2003; Van de Sompel et al. 2004).

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