From AIP to Zettabyte: Comparing Digital Preservation Glossaries
Emily Reynolds (2012 Junior Fellow) writes:
As we mentioned in our introductory post last month, the OSI Junior Fellows are working on a project involving a draft digital preservation policy framework. One component of our work is revising a glossary that accompanies the framework. We’ve spent the last two weeks poring through more than two dozen glossaries relating to digital preservation concepts to locate and refine definitions to fit the terms used in the document.
We looked at dictionaries from well-established archival entities like the Society of American Archivists, as well as more strictly technical organizations like the Internet Engineering Task Force. While some glossaries take a traditional archival approach, others were more technical; we consulted documents primarily focusing on electronic records, archives, digital storage and other relevant fields. Because of influential frameworks like the OAIS Reference Model, some terms were defined similarly across the glossaries that we looked at. But the variety in the definitions for other terms points to the range of practitioners discussing digital preservation issues, and highlights the need for a common vocabulary. Based on what we found, that vocabulary will have to be broadly drawn and flexible to meet different kinds of requirements.
OSI = Office of Strategic Initiatives (Library of Congress)
Not to be overly critical, but I stumble over:
Because of influential frameworks like the OAIS Reference Model, some terms were defined similarly across the glossaries that we looked at. But the variety in the definitions for other terms points to the range of practitioners discussing digital preservation issues, and highlights the need for a common vocabulary.
Why does a “variety in the definitions for other terms…highlight[s] the need for a common vocabulary?”
I take it as a given that we have diverse vocabularies.
And that attempts at “common” vocabularies succeed in creating yet another “diverse” vocabulary.
So, why would anyone looking at “diverse” vocabularies jump to the conclusion that a “common” vocabulary is required?
Perhaps what is missing is the definition of the problem presented by “diverse” vocabularies.
Hard to solve a problem if you don’t know it is. (Hasn’t stopped some people that I know but that is a story for another day.)
I put it to you (and in your absence I will answer, so answer quickly):
What is the problem (or problems) presented by diverse vocabularies? (Feel free to use examples.)
Or if you prefer, Why do we need common vocabularies?