Technical Glossary
Technical Glossary
A-B Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
API Application Programming Interface. A set of instructions or rules that enable two operating systems or software applications to communicate.   CDL
Attribution Verbal or written acknowledgment of the creator or rights holder of an information resource. Written attribution that is formatted in a standardized manner and formally recorded is also known as a bibliographic citation or reference.   DRM Glossary
Authentication The process of verifying and establishing the identity of a person, system or computer requesting access to information or system resources.   DRM Glossary
Authorization The process of granting or denying access to system or information resources, including specific permissions, or restrictions to permissions, for using system or information resources. Authorization usually follows authentication. Once a person, computer or system has been authenticated, or identified, the authority to access information or system resources can be granted.   DRM Glossary
C Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
Canonical object A "canonical" representation for information presents the "truest" version of the source information, in a manner that is easily re-used by researchers. The "truest" representation for information may not be the most complete, but rather the information that experts in the field agree is most representative of the source information. With current computer graphics applications, it is quite easy to add arms to the famous "Venus de Milo" sculpture that are faithful to the artistry of the original sculptor. However, the statue in its current "armless" state is considered by art historians and art lovers to be the "canonical" representation. Fixing "flaws" in information may result in creating a nonstandard version of the source information. In digital scholarship, canonical representations of source information are often created to insure that the digital information can be displayed and used even as technology changes.   RUcore
Collaboratory Technically, “an environment where participants make use of computing and communication technologies to access shared instruments and data, as well as to communicate with others.” (Wikipedia). Collaboratories can also represent a new way of performing research, involving social networking and highly interactive collaboration, enabled by shared technologies.   Wikipedia
Collection An organized group of objects.    
Collection manager The individual or individuals responsible for a collection.    
Collection object Collection object is a special digital object that has corresponding organizational metadata, collection metadata, and one digital signature for the complete object.    
Collection owner Collection owner is a person or an entity that owns an organized group of objects.    
Confidentiality Confidentiality refers to the concepts of privacy and inaccessibility for information, except for release of information to authorized users, for authorized uses. Confidentiality also refers to kee   DRM Glossary
Cyberinfrastructure First used by a United States National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2003, the term has become an umbrella phrase for an information architecture that encompasses the entire lifecycle of information, from acquisition, through preservation and storage, through access strategies that make the information usable for a range of users over the Internet. According to Wikipedia, " In scientific usage, cyberinfrastructure is a technological solution to the problem of efficiently connecting data, computers, and people with the goal of enabling derivation of novel scientific theories and knowledge."   Agnew, Wikipedia
D Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
Data Architecture An orderly arrangement of parts to do four things: organize, store, access and move data.    
Data Curation The actions needed to maintain research data and other materials over their entire life-cycle and over time for current and future generations of users. Implicit in this definition are the processes of archiving and preservation but it also includes all the processes needed for good data creation and management, and the capacity to add value to data to generate new sources of information and knowledge    
Data Model The logical data structure developed during the logical database design process is a data model or entity model . It is also a description of the structural properties that define all entities represented in a database and all the relationships that exist among them.
Datastream The component in a Fedora object that represents MIME-typed content. An object can have one or more datastreams. The content of a datastream can be either data or metadata.   Fedora
Digital architecture The overall design or structure of a digital object.    
Digital image An electronic photograph scanned from an original document, made up of a set of picture elements ("pixels"). Each pixel is assigned a tonal value (black, white, a shade of gray, or color) and is represented digitally in binary code (zeros and ones). The term "image" does not imply solely visual materials as source material; rather, a digital image is simply a representation of whatever is being scanned, whether it be manuscripts, text, photographs, maps, drawings, blueprints, halftones, musical scores, 3-D objects, etc.   CDP
Digital object The digital object is all of the relevant information pertaining to the item being digitized (or to the item created originally in electronic form) and grouped together (or encapsulated) using METS as a wrapper. This includes the persistent ID, disseminators, metadata, and datastreams. Object RJ
Simple object Simple digital objects are comprised of a single content file (and its format variants or derivatives) and the metadata for that file. (For example: a single photograph.)   CDL
Complex object Complet objects include two or more content files (and their formats variants and derivatives) and corresponding metadata. (For example: a multi-page document or a book.)   CDL
Digital mass storage See Mass Storage System.    
Digital preservation The process of ensuring that a digital object is accessible over the long term.    
Digital signature A digital signature (not to be confused with a digital certificate) is an electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message or the signer of a document, and possibly to ensure that the original content of the message or document that has been sent is unchanged. Digital signatures are easily transportable, cannot be imitated by someone else, and can be automatically time-stamped. The ability to ensure that the original signed message arrived means that the sender cannot easily repudiate it later.
Digital wrapper Digital wrappers are pieces of software for binding digital content files and their metadata together and for specifying the logical relationship of the content files. The Metadata and Encoding Transmission Standard (METS) is the emerging national standard for wrapping digital library materials. METS wrapper CDL
Disseminators The component in a Fedora object that associates a service with the object for the purpose of transforming or presenting the content represented by datastreams. An object can have zero or more disseminators.   Fedora
DTD Document Type Definition. Documents are regarded as having types, just as other objects processed by computers do. The type of a document is defined by its constituent parts and structure. A DTD defines the structure of an SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) document.   CDP
Dublin Core A metadata element set intended to facilitate discovery of electronic resources.
E-G Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
EMM Educators' Module Maker. The EMM provides interfaces for designing simple and structured lesson plans and for the importing of digital objects from the New Jersey Digital Highway collection into those lesson plans.    
ETD Electronic thesis or dissertation. A thesis or dissertation that is maintained and distributed in digital form.    
Fedora Open source software with flexible tools for managing digital content. A repository platform conforming to the requirements of the Open Archival Information System reference model and architecture standard (OAIS) for providing long-term preservation and access to its resources.    
H-L Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
Handle The Handle System is a comprehensive system for assigning, managing, and resolving persistent identifiers, known as "handles," for digital objects and other resources on the Internet. Handles, Handle System CNRI
Identifier A symbol or character string that uniquely and unambiguously identifies a person or thing. An identifier may be locally unique within a system that assigns identifiers to system entities or globally unique within a broad or worldwide community of practice.   DRM Glossary
Ingest The term used to describe the process of moving objects into Fedora. Input  
Learning object Learning Objects are defined here as any entity, digital or non-digital, which can be used, re-used or referenced during technology supported learning. Examples of technology supported learning include computer-based training systems, interactive learning environments, intelligent computer-aided instruction systems, distance learning systems, and collaborative learning environments. Examples of Learning Objects include multimedia content,instructional content, learning objectives, instructional software and software tools, and persons, organizations, or events referenced during technology supported learning.
M-N Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
Mass Storage System An extensible disk and/or tape system used to store digital objects both online and offline.It performs continuous checking for pre-error and error conditions to insure stable, available resources. MSS  
Metadata Structured data used to describe a digital object. (Examples of metadata schemes used for digital projects include Dublin Core, MODS, and VRA.)    
METS Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard. A standard for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata about objects within a digital library, expressed using XML. METS is the emerging national standard for wrapping digital library materials. It is being developed by the Digital Library Federation (DLF) and is maintained by the Library of Congress. METS wrapper CDL
MODS Metadata Object Description Schema. A XML schema, and a data structure and interchange standard, used for the creation of original resource description records (and may also be used as an alternative method for representing MARC data). MODS was developed by the Library of Congress' Network   CDL
OAI-PMH Open Archives Initiative's Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. A mechanism for harvesting records containing metadata from repositories
OAIS OAIS Reference Model. CCSDS 650.0-B-1: Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System provides a reference architecture for a repository that organizes and manages its resources for long-term availability by users. Compliance with this standard is a requirement for a trusted repository. CF:    
Open Source Open source software is similar in idea to "free software" but slightly less rigid than the free software movement. Users of open source software are (generally) able to view the source code, alter and re-distribute open source software. There is however less of an emphasis in the open source movement on the right of information and source code to be free and in some cases companies are able to develop proprietary products based on open source ones
P-Q Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
Persistent ID A unique identifier for an object. PID, Handle Fedora
Persistant URL See Persistent ID.    
PID See Persistent ID.    
Pipeline A series of automatic processes that prepare an object for ingestion into Fedora.    
Portal A web site or service that provides access to online resources, such as digital objects.   CDL
Privacy Privacy refers to the ability to maintain the confidentiality of the identity, or attributes of the identity, of an information user. “Active privacy,” as defined by authentication and authorization applications such as Internet2’s Shibboleth, refers to the release of attributes or roles about a user, rather than the user’s unique identity, so that the identity is not used as part of an authorization process and thus does not need to be safeguarded during use. For example, a user may be locally authenticated within Shibboleth as “John Smith, professor of Physics” but authorized across a network for access to an information resource as “Rutgers University faculty member.”   DRM Glossary
Project Project is a process or a plan designed to digitize all or part of the collection within a finite time frame.    
R-V Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
Repository “A university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution.”   Clifford Lynch
Shibboleth Shibboleth refers to an architecture or framework consisting of integrated applications and services to provide authentication, authorization and access to digital information within a federated community of trust. Shibboleth is developed and sponsored by Internet2.   DRM Glossary
Structure map A structure map determines how an object can be viewed and navigated. Structure maps can be inherent to the nature of the material (e.g., the structure map to navigate cells in a dataset or page through a document) or reflect the intellectual organization of the material (e.g., preface, chapters, endnotes, etc. in a book)    
Trusted repository The term "trusted repository" has emerged in the digital library arena to describe a repository that depositors and users trust to provide authentic and useful information for many generations of researchers and students. A repository must meet four critical tests, in order to live up to the trust placed in it by the faculty who deposit their work, as well as researchers who use the collections: 1.Safeguarding of intellectual property; 2. Fidelity to the source information.; 3. Authenticity of the information; 4. Preservation of user privacy   RUcore
W-Z Top
Term Definition Synonym Source
WMS Workflow Management System. An API (application programming interface) created by programmers at Rutgers that handles the input, processing, and management of digital files before they are ingested into Fedora.    
XML XML is a metalanguage (a way to define tag sets) that allows you to design your own customized markup language for many classes of documents. Extensible Markup Language CDP
  1. CLD - California Digital Library
  2. CDP - Colorado Digitization Project
  3. Fedora
  4. Wikipedia
  5. DRM Glossary organized by Grace Agnew
  6. RUcore information pages written by Grace Agnew
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