Clever Recordkeeping Metadata Project Outcome Area 3

Paper paradigms prevail

Paper paradigms and thinking still dominate recordkeeping practice and standards development as revealed when exploring opportunities for clever capture and re-use of metadata.

Brief discussion

In examining existing technology and work processes for opportunities for clever recordkeeping metadata reuse, the inherent restrictions of working in what is still a predominantly paper based environment were revealed. Where potentially useful information for recordkeeping is available it is often embedded in traditional documentary forms, and unable to be exploited. The design of the Metadata Broker proposed in this project enables translation services to be invoked by business processes in flexible and dynamic ways. Even with our current concepts of electronic recordkeeping, the granularity at which our recordkeeping control tools operate are not detailed enough. When we begin to think in terms of services oriented environments, these control tools will need to be robust and available for deployment in very different ways.

Summary findings

  • Records and business processes are not treated as potential sources of metadata – therefore potentially useful information for re-use purposes is not identified, tagged and made available for reuse.
  • Our scenario illustrated the extent to which metadata, with great potential for re-use, is captured in business processes, but the opportunity for re-use within other business processes that arise from this capture is often not able to be exploited. Even if recognised, this existing metadata is not expressed in uniformly recognised metadata syntax, nor made known outside its creation context and thus not made available for reuse.
  • There is a disjunction between the granularity in the articulation of our recordkeeping tools (such as classification schemes, process analyses) and the much more refined layers of granularity required for electronic recordkeeping.
  • An approach that relies on rendering existing tools into XML will not address sustainability issues.