Digital Preservation Services Taxonomy

posted Jul 17, 2011, 11:10 PM by Michael Peterson   [ updated Jul 25, 2011, 12:06 PM by Michael Peterson ]
In an effort to revise the existing taxonomy for these digital 'archive' and 'preservation' terms, it will be useful to illustrate the functional relationships.   The idea behind this approach is to separate digital from physical and then on the digital side, to separate digital archive from digital preservation.  Then, to recognize and accommodate current Web2.0, SOA, and Cloud-based services architecture, we're frame systems as 'services' not as 'systems.'  

Concepts Illustrated by this taxonomy: 

  • Physical and digital are disconnected by using "physical" or "digital" as a modifier with each term in all use-cases
  • Archive is defined as per the ISO definition - an organization and its infrastructure dedicated to retention and perhaps preservation. An archive is not a special repository focused on digital preservation​. 
  • Digital Archive - is replaced by "digital archive service" -- implying archival services for retention (and the long list of IT services that get called archiving), but a digital archive does not provide digital preservation by itself.  By keeping digital preservation services separated from digital archive services, we both accommodate existing uses of the term "archive" as well as add specific requirements needed to distinguish digital preservation services from digital archive. 
  • Digital Preservation - is focused on information, not on the infrastructure, services, processes, etc. that support digital preservation.  See the updated definition.  
  • Digital Preservation Service - is the new term replacing digital repository, archive system, etc.  A digital preservation service does not need a special class of digital archive service to successfully preserve digital information. And, a digital archive service may not provide digital preservation services fully if it lacks a complete service-catalog.   The difference between the two is important. 
  • A Cloud Digital Archive Service - is just a special case of a digital archive service, delivered as Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS. 

(Click on the illustration to enlarge it.) 

Depricated Terms: 

  • Archive  - Use digital archive service
  • Repository -- confused with an archive
  • TDR -- trusted digital respository is an inappropriate architecture model connoting dependencies upon that repository (silo) - use Trustworthy Digital Preservation Service
  • Trusted -- Use "Trustworthy" instead
  • Preservation -- confused with legal use or with physical archives use of the term - use Digital Preservation which focuses on information, not on processes or practices