Data Management

Data management provides the glue for the system by capturing and managing all of the metadata that is needed to operate the system. As in Archival Storage, the functions of Data Management are familiar to anyone who has worked with production databases.

digital preservation This is another essential function in which the technological side takes the lead. Organizational input is needed in the establishment and maintenance of metadata standards and requirements and in monitoring the data management operation to ensure its effectiveness in meeting defined requirements.

0101 The Data Management database holds Descriptive Information, used by Access in searching and displaying objects. It also holds system information about the objects in the archive. The database administrator(s) must maintain and update the database, as usual. Queries are performed, views are generated, and reports are returned, as in any other database management system.

$$$$ There have been fairly high costs associated with data management because this is where metadata management largely occurs. As automated tools are developed and implemented, data management costs should become more manageable. Metadata handwork is not scalable or sustainable. Other costs include technical skills, software, and storage.


  1. Do you store your metadata with your digital objects, in a separate database, or both? What do you see as the pros and cons of your arrangements?
  2. Have you been following the development of preservation metadata within the digital preservation community? What do you think the implications of PREMIS will be for your institution?

Watch This Space

What impact will PREMIS have on your organization?

In May 2005, the OCLC / RLG PREservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies (PREMIS) working group released their final products, including their final report, and a set of examples. Currently, PREMIS maintenance activity is being hosted by the Library of Congress, which has produced resources such as version 2 of the PREMIS Data Dictionary and corresponding XML schemas.

Now that the final products are available, it is now the responsibility of institutions to use the data dictionary and provide feedback as preservation metadata moves towards standardization.

The starting point for PREMIS was the framework produced by the group's predecessor, A Metadata Framework to Support the Preservation of Digital Objects.

Related resources:

“PREMIS - Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies Update 2: Core Elements for Metadata to Support Digital Preservation,” by Rebecca Guenther

“PREMIS - Preservation Metadata - Implementation Strategies Update 1. Implementing Preservation Repositories for Digital Materials: Current Practice and Emerging Trends in the Cultural Heritage Community,” by Priscilla Caplan

Understanding PREMIS: an overview of the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata, by Priscilla Caplan.

PREMIS With a Fresh Coat of Paint: Highlights from the Revision of the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata,” by Brian F. Lavoie

Preservation metadata is a key piece of digital preservation and the work of PREMIS provides an essential contribution to the digital preservation community. While standards and best practices for creating and managing preservation metadata are being developed, individual institutions have been developing interim approaches and there is a range of ongoing research and development work on preservation metadata. Good examples include the work of the:

What are the implications of PREMIS and related preservation metadata developments for organizations that are in the process of developing digital preservation programs?