W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-architypes@w3.org > August 2015

Re: Archive as a collection of things

From: Giovanni Michetti <michetti@mail.ubc.ca>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 19:29:10 +0200
To: "Young,Jeff (OR)" <jyoung@oclc.org>, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@dataliberate.com>
CC: Sarah Romkey <sromkey@artefactual.com>, public-architypes <public-architypes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <55C4EAE6.9010509@mail.ubc.ca>

of course I agree, Events and Actions may help describing what happens 
to archival objects. However, I think you highlighted a relevant point 
here. According to the initial request from Richard, we have been asked 
to identify the relevant properties needed to describe archival objects. 
I started identifying some "areas", i.e, aspects that we consider 
relevant, because I took Richard's request as a sort of identification 
of users' needs rather than properties. In fact, you "translated" the 
need for information on the history of objects in a set of classes and 
properties. In other words, once a need is identified and accepted, 
we'll find a way to represent it--and there may be indeed different 

I think at this point is important to identify our needs, i.e. what we 
need to know about the objects. Once we agree on these needs, we may 
focus on the best way to represent them--either a new property, or a new 
class? either a specialization of a property or a new property? and so on.

Anyway, the short reply is, I agree with you.


On 2015-08-07 6:04 PM, Young,Jeff (OR) wrote:
>> 1) yes, "owns" does half of the job, rather, part of it. Let me add something
>> more, just to share knowledge and clarify the archival perspective. Archives are
>> supposed to be repositories of authentic records. In order to guarantee and
>> maintain authenticity we need to know what happens to objects from creation
>> time till they come into our hands--any information gap may result in an
>> "authenticity gap", since we may not be able to guarantee that records have
>> not been tampered with, corrupted, misplaced etc. "What happens to objects"
>> means that we need to know of any change of either the real obejcts (i.e.,
>> change of format, amendments, compression...) or their context, that is, their
>> surroundings, including owners, custodians or any other agent who had a role
>> in maintaining the environment in which records are preserved.
> It seems like http://schema.org/Event and/or http://schema.org/Action could help track the history of an item. The connection back to the ArchivalItem items could presumably be made using http://schema.org/object.
>> 2) I'm not sure "hold" can be defined as a temporary ownership. For what I
>> know the difference is legal. Objects may be held for decades by agent X, yet
>> the property right may be held by agent Y. "To Hold" is about keeping stuff, "To
>> Own" is about having a title of property on it.
> This seems somewhat analogous to https://schema.org/TradeAction cases where temporal/transient control can be expressed and attached to a thing, again via http://schema.org/object.
> Jeff
>> 3) Hence, the idea of enhancing OwnershipInfo doesn't seem to work to me,
>> because it is anyway a value of property "own", which is a different thing from
>> "hold/keep/whatever".
>> In short, I would go for a different property. I understand your concerns, so
>> maybe "Keep" may work. Otherwise, if we agree anyway that a class is needed,
>> let's call it "Foo1" for the moment---we'll find the label later.
>> re CreativeWorks:
>> I agree with you, except that while it is true that "archivists identify that they
>> have a need to describe a category [...] named Documents", it is not corrrect to
>> state that archivists identify such a category as a CreativeWork--we are just
>> discussing about it and see what the best solution is.
>> Giovanni
>> On 2015-08-07 3:20 PM, Richard Wallis wrote:
>>> More good points and analysis - comments below...
>>> ~Richard
>>>      1) with regard to the two potential approaches there is a major
>>>      issue: "owns" (ie "Products owned by the organization or person"
>>>      [sic]) is not an adequate property for describing custody. When we
>>>      talk about custodial history we are not necessarily talking about
>>>      owning. Archives may be deposited, or borrowed (e.g., for an
>>>      exhibition), so at a given time they may be possessed by an archival
>>>      institution, while being owned (i.e. possessed by right) by some
>>>      other subject. The custodial history is the story of the custody,
>>>      not the story of the owners. We need to trace it, because it
>>>      provides fundamental information to assess authenticity.
>>> Sounds like "owns" [with suitable expansion to include Things that are
>>> not only Products] only does half the job, and we need a parallel
>>> mechanism to describing temporary ownership or 'holding'.  One
>>> possibility could be to enhance OwnershipInfo
>>> <http://schema.org/OwnershipInfo> to be capable of describing
>>> ownership of a temporary nature. Alternatively we could go for another
>>> property to alongside owns. The name of 'holds' immediately comes to
>>> mind but I fear it would not be acceptable to the the wider Schema.org
>>> group due to alternative meanings in areas such as sport and medicine.
>>>      2) with regard to archives as CreativeWorks, I agree with you: it
>>>      cannot be argued that "a government document is not a type of
>>>      CreativeWork", not because it is indeed, but because as a matter of
>>>      fact CreativeWorks are not defined. It is strange though that we can
>>>      find email messages, datasets, books, and any sort of things in the
>>>      CreativeWorks bucket, while documents and records have not been
>>>      mentioned at all. I think first of all we should define a class for
>>>      Document, since the bulk of an archives is made by documents after all.
>>> With the evolving nature of Schema.org it is not that surprising that
>>> apparently obvious things are not yet represented in the vocabulary.
>>> Types get into the vocabulary when a need is identified.  This is
>>> exactly the process that we are engaged in here -- archivists identify
>>> that they have a need to describe a category of CreativeWorks named
>>> Documents and propose the creation of such a Type in an archives
>>> extension or even potentially in the core vocabulary.
>>> I have updated the Wiki Page
>>> <https://www.w3.org/community/architypes/wiki/Main_Page> to reflect
>>> this suggestion.
>>>      Giovanni
>>>      On 2015-08-07 1:04 AM, Richard Wallis wrote:
>>>          Some good points Sarah - comments below...
>>>               Two properties stick out to me that are not covered as far
>>>          as I can
>>>               tell in the generic Collection schema:
>>>               1. Holding archives/institution: because archives are
>>>          unique, it's
>>>               important to record the institution that holds the collection.
>>>               Related to this point:
>>>               2. Custodial history, or the archival history of the collection
>>>               before and during its custody in an institution. This is
>>>          important
>>>               to record for making presumptions of authenticity and
>>>          understanding
>>>               the limits to what the collection contains (e.g., half of
>>>          it was
>>>               lost in a fire, etc)
>>>          There are a couple of potential approaches to these points.  Firstly
>>>          coming at it from the holding organization's point of view:
>>>             * Organization <http://schema.org/Organization> has an owns
>>>               <http://schema.org/owns> property that has OwnershipInfo
>>>               <http://schema.org/OwnershipInfo>  as one of the options in its
>>>               range. OwnershipInfo <http://schema.org/OwnershipInfo> has some
>>>               useful properties for capturing some of the things you describe
>>>               associated with ArchivesCollections it may hold.
>>>             * Some of the current descriptions of these properties are very
>>>               Product focused, but recommending that an Organization can
>>>               additionally own CreativeWorks (such as an
>>>          ArchivesCollection) could
>>>               well work.
>>>          Secondly from the point of view of describing the same current and
>>>          historical information for a collection:
>>>             * The OwnershipInfo Type could be enhanced to include the owner
>>>               Organization
>>>             * The proposed ArchivesCollection could have an ownedBy
>>>          property which
>>>               would have Organization, Person, and OwnershipInfo in its
>>> range
>>>               Giovanni touched on this in the other thread covering items in
>>>               collections.
>>>               Re: CreativeWork: in addition to the examples that you raise
>>>               Richard, there is a lot of content in archival collections
>>>          which
>>>               many would argue isn't "creative" in nature, such as data,
>>>               governmental documents, etc. I would be glad to see us
>>>          expand the
>>>               hasPart idea beyond the scope of CreativeWork.
>>>          So will I.  Not sure that in the generic Schema.org world that
>>>          you could
>>>          argue that a government document is not a type of CreativeWork, but
>>>          there are many other non-CreativeWork items that can be found in
>>>          Archives.
Received on Friday, 7 August 2015 17:29:57 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 18:57:12 UTC