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Initially, the GDFR was conceived of as a single centralized repository of format representation information.
The scope of the GDFR is to "maintain persistent, unambiguous bindings between identifiers for digital formats and representation for those formats" (Abrams & Seaman, 2003).
Development of the GDFR data model has been informed by earlier projects investigating issues regarding format-related preservation metadata.
Regardless, the information modeling of these projects may still suggest useful data elements relevant to the GDFR project.
The provisional data model for the GDFR includes elements for the administrative properties of the registry itself as well as the various properties of the individual registered formats, which fall into four main categories:
A format can have multiple identifiers, which may be based on entirely separate naming schemes; however, one must be unique within the GDFR and declared as the canonical identifier for the format.
It is the intent of the GDFR to include actionable links to external documents, as well as maintain soft and hard copies of the documents within the registry itself.
All information submitted to the GDFR is subject to technical review for accuracy, completeness, and authoritativeness.
In addition to these properties, the GDFR will investigate the use of format assessment characteristics.
The GDFR defines a set of core registry services in two broad categories: Management Services and Access Services.
Additional administrative services regarding delegation and synchronization between the individual nodes of the distributed registry network will be integrated into the GDFR protocol.
The JSTOR/Harvard JHOVE tool for format-specific object identification, validation, and characterization (Chapman & Abrams, 2004) and the National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) Metadata Extraction Tool (Searle & Thompson, 2003) are two well-known examples of systems whose implementation and maintenance would be facilitated by the existence of the GDFR to provide sufficiently detailed and authoritative format specifications.
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