UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Records management attributes in international open document exchange standards Gregson, Harold Anthony


The thesis is a study of the ability of international open document exchange standards to capture the attributes of the archival document, or record in its electronic form using a set of decontextualized attributes developed by diplomatics. Open document exchange is the ability to exchange documents in their complete form between heterogeneous electronic document management systems. Three standards are examined: ISO 8613 Open Document Architecture (ODA), ISO 10166 Document Filing and Retrieval (DFR), and ISO 8879 Standard Generalized Mark Up Language (SGML) as realized in the Text Encoding Initiative; As distributed computing becomes common, there is a growing need for such standards, but their usefulness to archivists and recordskeeping systems depends on their ability to recognize the record. Open document exchange standards function by setting broad descriptive requirements without prescribing the specific implementation by any given system. In describing documents, they are therefore in need of a terminology that is free of any particular records context. The thesis proposes that the archival science of diplomatics is capable of providing a complete set of decontextualized descriptors, or attributes, that encompass all aspects of the archival document or record. Since diplomatics is based on a scientific analysis of documents, and makes use of terminology that has long been in use by records creators and keepers, it is proposed that diplomatics terminology should be treated as a surrogate international standard in defining the attributes of the document profile and the logical and layout structure of documents. Diplomatics concepts can then be used as the basis for describing records attributes in the document profile of electronic records management systems. The thesis demonstrates this proposition by means of a thesaurus which maps attributes and concepts of SGML, ODA, and DFR against diplomatic terminology.

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