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Access: Archival term referring to various methods of connecting users and researchers to archival material. Term used to refer to “physical” access of the actual object, but now refers to digital, networked discovery as well. Archival restriction is usually designed to restrict public access. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

Access Points

Access Points: This is the location at which a user or researcher interacts with an oral history interview. There can be dozens of access points. They may include various fields of metadata at the collection, series, or interview levels but also denote access to digital surrogates themselves and accompanying indexes or transcripts. Access points can also …

Administrative Metadata

Administrative Metadata: Category of metadata designed to assist in management of asset or object. Often includes creation, rights management, workflow, preservation metadata but also provenance and repository-related information, but not information about the content of an oral history. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Checksum: A checksum is a measurement of data fixity and a confirmation of data file integrity. By capturing a checksum measurement early you create a baseline measurement to monitor and verify that the data remains intact. Common checksum algorithms include the MD5 and the SHA checksums. [ Archive Glossary ] Tutorial on “Checksum” for Digital …


Cloud: Typically associated with oral history as a remote, networked-based digital storage solution. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

CMS (Content Management System)

CMS (Content Management System): Systems for managing web based tools such as websites or blogs. WordPress and Drupal are common “open source” Content Management Systems that are free of charge. Although free, a CMS still requires a web hosting package–and templates and themes often require cost. Blog-based CMS, such as WordPress and Drupal, are becoming …

DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)

DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard): Standard approved by the Society of American Archivists for describing archival collections. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Discovery: Archival term for the act of a user or researcher finding and connecting to the information that they are seeking. Archives and archivists often work to enhance discovery through various means including enhanced metadata, search engine optimization, and housing metadata in a variety of access points. In an oral history context, this means “discovery” …

Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation: The active preservation of the digital information to ensure ongoing access to digital content. Often referred to as digital curation. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


DRM: Digital Rights Management [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

Dublin Core

Dublin Core: Popular metadata standard for descriptive information pertaining to an archival asset. The Dublin Core metadata standard features 15 descriptive elements. A primary goal of the Dublin Core standard is to enhance interoperability between organizations and repositories. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

EAD (Encoded Archival Description)

EAD (Encoded Archival Description): “A non-proprietary de facto standard for the encoding of finding aids for use in a networked (online) environment.” [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


HTML 5: New web development standard that minimizes the need for additional third-party plug-ins such as Adobe Flash. Gaining widespread adoption, HTML 5 encourages interoperability between systems and browsers. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Interoperability: Basic concept of digital preservation that encourages formats, systems and technologies that interact, interface, and “play well” with other systems. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

LTO (Linear Tape Open)

LTO (Linear Tape Open): Magnetic tape format typically utilized for backing up servers or storing large data files such as uncompressed digital video. Beginning with LTO-1 the current standard is LTO-5. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


MARC: Machine Readable Cataloging is an international metadata standard developed by the Library of Congress to enable the interchange of descriptive cataloging information in a computerized environment. Numerous archival management systems such as Archivists’ Toolkit enable the export of archival metadata records in the MARC format to incorporate archival records in library catalogs. [ Archive …


Master: Refers to the original version of a recording or interview. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Metadata: Information about aspects of an oral history interview. It is essential for the curating, discovery, and management of a collection or interview. In an oral history context, “descriptive metadata” refers to information about the interview or the topic discussed. “Technical metadata” refers to the technical information that makes up the digital data file containing the …

METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard)

METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard): Developed and maintained by the Library of Congress, METS is an XML-based metadata standard optimized for managing digital objects and a digital archival environment. [ Archive Glossary ]   Tweet


Migration: Typically refers to moving an archival asset or digital object to a different storage medium. Sometimes refers to “conversion” from one format to another as well. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema)

MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema): XML–based metadata schema developed by the Library of Congress. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

OAIS (Open Archival Information System)

OAIS (Open Archival Information System): Emerging as a kind of overarching constitution and model for large-scale and long-term digital preservation. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

PBCore (Public Broadcasting Metadata Dictionary)

PBCore (Public Broadcasting Metadata Dictionary): PBCore is a metadata system originally designed by and for public broadcasting. It is built on the Dublin Core metadata schema with a specific emphasis on elements particular to audio-visual material. For this reason, it is useful for oral history archives, particularly with regard to handling technical metadata. [ Archive Glossary …

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Discs)

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Discs): Computerized data storage strategy that involves distributing or mirroring data across multiple disk drives. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Redundancy: In a preservation context, refers to the creation of multiple copies of digital assets. Simply making copies is one part of a digital preservation plan. Knowing where they are is another. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

Structural Metadata

Structural Metadata: “Structural metadata” refers to how individual parts relate to a whole. For example, an interview that spans multiple data files must be linked together in an archival system. Additionally, structural metadata connects derivative representations of an interview such as transcripts with the correct audio or video files. Metadata should be managed in a …

Technical Metadata

Technical Metadata: Technical information, stored in the file containing the interview,  describes file type, codec, file size, resolution, etc. This data is needed to replay the interview. Capturing and maintaining this information is critical for ongoing curatorial and digital preservation responsibilities of a digital oral history interview. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] …


XML (Extensible Markup Language): A self-defining text format for electronic publishing that is both human-readable and machine-readable. Designed for the storage and transportation of data. [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet