Managing Digital Information

Metadata and Description

Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, and locates an information resource. This information makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information source.

Each institution will have different needs in terms of metadata and the standards and scheme they choose to use will depend heavily on the intended use.

Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation encompasses a broad range of activities designed to extend the usable life of digital files. These activities protect files from media physical loss, media failure, and obsolescence. This section includes information on how to preserve and protect digital files.

A Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) divides digital preservation into two activities: one which promotes the long-term maintenance of a bit stream, and one which provides continued accessibility of its contents. At this point in time, there are no TDRs in Canada, and comprehensive digital preservation is beyond the reach of many institutions. However, there are certain strategies that could be put in place until TDRs become a reality.

In Canada, “copyright” simply means “the right to copy.” In general, only the copyright owner (often the creator of the work) is allowed to reproduce the work, or permit anyone else to do so. Access to copyrighted material and intellectual property of First Nations communities can be regulated through a number of methods, ranging from highly restrictive to fairly lenient.

Intellectual Property is defined as the legal rights that result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. Intellectual property establishes a right and identifies ownership of intellectual creativity. Indigenous intellectual property consists of the intangible ideas and knowledge associated with artistic works and designs and other forms of cultural expression such as music, dance, song and story.

File Management

Establishing file management conventions can prevent files from being misplaced and lost.

Consistency in naming files, emails or folders is important to identify information quickly and easily. It is important that the office-wide folder structure and file naming conventions be agreed upon, understood and implemented by all office staff. Putting time and effort into naming files consistently and logically will distinguish similar files from one another at a glance, allowing for more effective and efficient searching and retrieval of files. 

This section of the Toolkit outlines how to create a file management system that meets the needs of a First Nations community. Topics such as file naming conventions, computer drive protocol, and file folder structuring are addressed.