We discussed your input at the PREMIS Editoral Committee ealier this month
so I thought I'd send you a reply. I've had to interpret some of your
comments since I don't know your system in any detail. Please feel free
to come back with further comments if I've not answered the questions or
1. Are there barriers to implementing the PREMIS Data Dictionary in your
institution? If so, what are they?
*Complexity of updating the PREMIS data stream each time the digital
object it describes is updated by the repository system.
It is normal to use a single PREMIS schema conformant XML document to
describe a digital object. I assume you are doing something like this:
extracting the full document from (say) a database, parsing it to get the
information you want to change, making the changes and then saving the
entire document back. I think this is quite a good way of doing things
(and can be used to provide a reversible audit trail).
The downside is that this can involve an "overhead" of reading and writing
quite a bit of information for a small change. However, I would say that
this "overhead" is often just in the software (i.e. you don't need to
burden users with this) and so probably only matters if you need to do a
lot of operations in bulk. In such cases it is worth pointing out that
PREMIS does not force a single document per digital object approach or any
other implementation. There is an XML schema but it is really the Data
Dictonary that is important and the information in this can be represented
in other ways (e.g., in a relational database, smaller schemas that
transport part of the information or some combination of these). In these
cases you might only create a physical PREMIS XML document when needed
(e.g., on export).
*Complexity of associating a linkingAgent and linkingObject with each
The idea of these constructs is that you can create Objects, Agents and
Events independently of each other and then link them together as needed.
Is the complexity that there are various ways of doing this (e.g, Events
can be linked to Objects and Objects can be linked to Events, both Objects
and Events can be linked to Object relationships etc.)? This provides
flexibility and I think the point is to do what makes sense and no more.
Both linking Agent and linkingObject are optional in Event so if they
don't add value to particular Events, feel free to not use them.
2. What issues have you had in planning to use PREMIS and adapting it to
*Automated PREMIS creation to record each action associated with each
digital object became overwhelming in terms of programming resources and
PREMIS does not force people to store every event: it is only necessary to
store what is appropriate. I'd be interested to know what actions you
*Digital provenance metadata is often an afterthought, behind descriptive,
technical, and rights metadata.
This is often true but PREMIS hopefully helps rather than hinders this.
3. Are there specific areas where you think PREMIS needs improvement? If
*If associations between events, agents, and objects were much simpler,
PREMIS would be much easier to understand and perhaps to manipulate.
I think this refers to the same point as the above?
I hope this has helped. Please reply again (or contact me directly) if we
can be of further assistance.