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Commission on Preservation and Access

Preservation and Access Technology

The Relationship Between Digital and Other Media Conversion Processes:
A Structured Glossary of Technical Terms

M. Stuart Lynn
The Technology Assessment Advisory Committee
to the Commission on Preservation and Access
August 1990

Committee Preface

In 1989, the Technology Assessment Advisory Committee (TAAC) of the Commission on Preservation and Access was asked by the Commission to consider the potentials of various new technologies for the capture of printed and other information now at risk, and the storage and retrieval of preserved materials. This report is one in a series alerting the Commission and others to developments and possibilities within the context of national and international initiatives for preservation of and access to information printed on disintegrated paper and other substrates. During its first meetings, the Committee found the need for a framework within which to discuss the use of emerging technologies for preservation purposes–a framework that could also be shared with professionals working in the preservation and related fields.

The resulting “structured glossary”, which represents the views and thinking of the full TAAC membership, was principally authored by M. Stuart Lynn with assistance from colleagues in the libraries and information technologies divisions at Cornell University. This paper has also been subjected to a pre-publication review by selected members of the library and information technologies professions at large. The Committee hopes that this Glossary will contribute to a common understanding of how preservation and access needs can be addressed by emerging technologies, in order to take full advantage of appropriate opportunities.

Rowland Brown, Chair
Technology Assessment Advisory Committee

TAAC membership consists of representatives of the computer and communications industries, as well as corporate and higher education institutional consumers of advanced technologies. The members are: Adam Hodgkin, Managing Director, Cherwell Scientific Publishing Limited; Douglas van Houweling, Vice Provost for Information Technologies, University of Michigan; Michael Lesk, Division Manager, Computer Sciences Research, Bellcore; M. Stuart Lynn, Vice President for Information Technologies, Cornell University; Robert Spinrad, Director, Corporate Technology, Xerox Corporation; Robert L. Street, Vice President for Information Resources, Stanford University; and Rowland C.W. Brown, Chair, President, OCLC (retired).


The Committee is particularly grateful to John Dean, Conservation Librarian, Cornell University Library; and to Lynne K. Personius, Assistant Director for Scholarly Information Technologies, Cornell Information Technologies, for their assistance in the preparation of this paper. The Committee also owes a special debt of gratitude for their careful review of the paper to Margaret Byrnes, Head Preservation Section, National Library of Medicine, and to Gay Walker, Head Librarian for Preservation, Yale University Library. Invaluable additional comments were also provided by Millicent Abell, University Librarian, Yale University; Richard De Gennaro, Roy E. Larsen Librarian, Harvard University; James F. Govan, University Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Paula Kaufman, Dean of Libraries, University of Tennessee; and Michael Keller, Associate University Librarian for Collections Development, Yale University.


This document is offered as a structured glossary of terms associated with the technologies of document preservation, with particular emphasis on document media conversion technologies (often called “reformatting technologies”), and even more particularly on the use of digital computer technologies. The Glossary also considers technologies associated with access to such preserved documents. Such a glossary is intended for communication among people of different professional backgrounds, especially since in recent years there has been a proliferation of such technologies and associated technical terms, technologies and terms that cut across many disciplines.

The use of digital technologies, however, has implications for libraries that extend far beyond the boundaries of preservation and of access to preserved materials. Some of these implications are summarized in the discussion in the Introduction of “The Impact of Digital Technologies,” and are indicated throughout the Glossary. Thus this Glossary may serve a wider purpose than the title itself would imply.

The Glossary is a structured glossary, in the sense that the defined terms have been hierarchically grouped. The term “taxonomy” was used to describe earlier drafts of the manuscript, but that term was dropped since it might imply a degree of completeness and form beyond that envisaged, or even possible. The Glossary is not intended to be complete with respect to preservation technology as a whole, but is highly selective (and even highly subjective) in its choice of terms to include, and very much slanted towards the use and impact of digital technologies. Other preservation technologies are sketched in for contextual purposes only. Within these constraints, the Glossary is intended to be comprehensive but not exhaustive.

The Glossary is not intended to be so comprehensive as to satisfy the technologist only concerned with technologies, or the librarian exclusively concerned with librarianship and preservation. It is intended to satisfy the intersection of their concerns. On the other hand, issues of preservation and access raise concepts that have implications for librarianship as a whole, so that, in that sense, this Glossary has consequences that are not limited to the preservation arena alone.

Table of Contents

Committee Preface
The Impact of Digital Technologies
Scope of the Glossary
Structure of the Glossary
1. The Original Document
1.1. Document Medium
1.1.1. Paper
1.1.2. Microform
1.1.3. Video
1.1.4. Film
1.1.5. Audio
1.1.6. Digital Electronic Magnetic Disk Magnetic Tape Optical Disk Optical Tape Magneto-Optical Disk
1.1.7. Multi-Media
1.2. Document Format
1.2.1. Manuscript
1.2.2. Book
1.2.3. Pamphlet
1.2.4. Newspaper
1.2.5. Printed Sheet
1.2.6. Periodical
1.2.7. Cartographic Materials
1.2.8. Music
1.2.9. Graphic Materials
1.2 9.1 Art Original
1.2 9.2 Filmstrip
1.2 9.3 Photograph
1.2 9.4 Picture
1.2 9.5 Technical Drawing Miscellaneous
1.2.10 Data File Table
1.3. Document Periodicity
1.3.1. Monograph
1.3.2. Serial
1.4. Document Properties
1.4.1. Tone Monotone Two-Tone Greyscale Highlight Color Two color Full Color
1.4.2. Object Type Text Objects Data Objects Table Graphic Objects Line Art Graphs Halftone Discrete Tone Continuous Tone
1.5. Document Condition
1.5.1. Archival
1.5.2. Non-Archival
1.5.3. Acidic
1.5.4. Brittle
1.5.5. Other
1.6. Document Content
1.6.1. Intellectual Content
1.6.2. Copyright
1.6.3. Structure Abstract (see Title Page Table of Contents (see> List of Figures, Tables, Maps or Other Illustrations Preface (see Introduction (see Body Index (see Other
2.The Selection Process
2.1. By Title
2.2. By Category
2.3 By Bibliography
2.4. By Use
2.5. By Condition
2.6. By Scholarly Advisory Committee
2.7. By Conspectus
3. The Preserved Copy
3.1. Preservation and Media Conversion Technologies
3.1.1. Conservation Treatment
3.1.2. Paper Deacidification and Strengthening
3.1.3. Photocopying
3.1.4. Microform Recording
3.1.5. Electronic Digitization Image Document Text Document Unformatted Text Formatted Text Compound Document
3.1.6. Rekeying of Text Unformatted Text
3.1.6 2 Formatted Text
3.1.7. Reprinting or Republication
3.2. Capture Technology
3.2.1. Photocopier
3.2.2. Microform Recorder
3.2.3. Digital Image Scanner
3.2.4. Optical Character Recognition Scanner
3.2.5. Internal Character Recognition
3.2.6. Intelligent Character Recognition
3.2.7. Page Recognition
3.2.8. Rekeying of Text
3.2.9. Enhancement
3.3. Storage Technology
3.3.1. Storage Medium Paper (see 1.1.1) Microform (see 1.1.2) Video (see 1.1.3) Film (see 1.1.4) Audio (see 1.1.5) Digital Electronic Magnetic Disk Magnetic Tape Optical Disk Optical Tape Magneto-Optical Disk
3.3.2. Compression Uncompressed
3.3 2.2 Reversibly Compressed
3 CCITT Group Compression Reversible Textual Compression Page Description Language Compression (PDL) Other Compression Standards or Algorithms Irreversibly Compressed Irreversible Textual Compression
3.3.3. Storage Format
3.3.4. Encoding Method No Encoding Textual Encoding Markup Language Encoding
3.3 4.4 Page Description Language Encoding
3.3.5. Useful Life
3.4. Access Methodology or Technology
3.4.1. Indexed Access Via Catalog Via Abstract Via Table of Contents Via List of Figures, Tables, Maps or Other Illustrations Via Preface Via Introduction Via Index Via Citation
3.4.2. Full (or Partial) Document Access Via Inverted Text File Index
3.4.3. Compound Document Access
3.5. Distribution Technology
3.5.1. Distribution Medium Paper (see 1.1.1) Microform (see 1.1.2) Video (see 1.1.3) Film (see 1.1.4) Audio (see 1.1.5) Digital Electronic (see 1.1.6)
3.5.2. Messenger Services
3.5.3. FAX
3.5.4. Print-on-Demand
3.5.5. Data Networks Local Area Network Wide Area Network. National Network
3.5.6. Voice Networks
3.5.7. Cable Networks
3.6. Presentation Technology
3.6.1. Presentation Medium Paper (see 1.1.1) Microform (see 1.1.2) Video (see 1.1.3) Film (see 1.1.4) Audio (see 1.1.5) Digital Electronic (see 1.1.6)
3.6.2. Presentation or Viewing Device Paper Document Microform Reader Video Projector (Television Set) Film, Slide, or Other Projectors Audio Devices Computer Workstation Display Monitor Local Printer Remote Printer Other Local Media Output Device Multi-Media Workstation
4. Sources of Information

Published by
The Commission on Preservation and Access
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 740
Washington, DC 20036-2217
August, 1990

The Commission on Preservation and Access was established in 1986 to foster and support collaboration among libraries and allied organizations in order to ensure the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats and to provide enhanced access to scholarly information.

This document was printed by Cornell University with the same technology that is being used for printing books in connection with Cornell’s digital book preservation study. This study is being supported in part by the Commission on Preservation and Access and in part by the Xerox Corporation. Since this printing technology is restricted to black-and-white, an exception has been made to the Commission’s normal practice of using blue ink.

Additional copies available for $5.00 from the above address. Order must be prepaid, with check made payable to “The Commission on Preservation and Access.” Payments must be in U.S. funds. Please do not send cash.

This publication has been submitted to the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources.

Copyright 1990 by the Commission on Preservation and Access. Copying without fee is permitted provided that copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage and credit to the source is given. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a fee and specific permission.

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