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Re: Archive as a collection of things

From: Giovanni Michetti <michetti@mail.ubc.ca>
Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2015 03:13:59 +0200
To: Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@dataliberate.com>
CC: "Young,Jeff (OR)" <jyoung@oclc.org>, Sarah Romkey <sromkey@artefactual.com>, public-architypes <public-architypes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <55C6A957.5070705@mail.ubc.ca>

I gave a further look at some other standards, including ISAD, RAD, 
DACS, EAD, CIDOC CRM, and I don't have anyting to add to the list of
relevant aspects I've already laid out (i.e., identification, physical 
characteristics etc.), except that I would like to make clear that 
access & use may refer to technical access, ie technical requirements 
such as the need for specific hardware or software.

On a separate note, I'm going on vacation, so probably I won't be able 
to join the discussion in the next two weeks--my apologies.


On 2015-08-07 8:27 PM, Richard Wallis wrote:
> Seems that we are moving towards of agreement albeit at differing levels
> of detail. :-)
> I suggest we let the harvesting of thoughts and opinions continue for a
> while and then see if we have enough to shape up some examples to kick
> the tyres on.
> ~Richard
> On 7 August 2015 at 18:29, Giovanni Michetti <michetti@mail.ubc.ca
> <mailto:michetti@mail.ubc.ca>> wrote:
>     Jeff,
>     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 solutions.
>     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.
>     Giovanni
>     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 Sunday, 9 August 2015 01:15:05 UTC

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