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Appendix C: Thematic Grouping of Metadata

Elements may be grouped into thematic areas such as those outlined below. Three of the five (Organization; Maintenance, Protection and Preservation; and Disposition) represent life cycle stages of a resource as described in Information Management Services' Records and Information Life Cycle Management

Some elements appear to cross thematic areas and possibly reside in multiple places. The groupings below are suggested only and are meant to provide one possible scenario for representing life cycle management. The placement of some of the elements was determined by the first instance of their inclusion in the Records and Information Life Cycle Management model. Institutions may wish to group elements differently based on their local requirements.

1. Description

  • Includes records management processes that assign information to the resource to allow for its interpretation, discovery and retrieval
  • Purpose:
    • To support the accessibility and usability of resources; and,
    • To place the resource in the context for which it was created.
  • Metadata for accessibility should ensure that resources are described to facilitate use and understanding.

2. Organization

  • Includes records management processes dealing with organizing resources according to a structured set of business rules and information technology requirements.
  • Purpose:
    • To place resources in their proper context within an institution's overall records management framework;
    • To facilitate the retrieval of information;
    • To support retention and disposition processes; and,
    • To assign security, privacy controls and security measures to resources.
  • Classification of functions, activities and transactions/subjects acts as a powerful tool supporting many records management processes. Contextual information about resources is necessary to understand the transactions that created them.

3. Maintenance, Protection and Preservation

  • Includes records management processes dealing with location and storage, disaster recovery plans (including essential records); retention plans; and migration plans.
  • Purpose:
    • To ensure the proper interpretation and implementation of applicable laws, policies and authorisations that govern the retention of the resource; and,
    • To ensure resources remain accessible.
  • Resources that are correctly maintained, protected and preserved remain useful and available now and in the future.
  • Maintenance, Protection and Preservation deals with resources up until they are no longer active and hence become ready for disposition.

4. Disposition

  • Includes records management processes that deal with policies and/or authorisations which pertain to the eventual transfer, destruction or alienation of resources outside control of the Government of Canada.
  • Purpose:
    • To provide advice or guidance on laws, policies and/or authorities that govern the disposition of the resource;
    • To ensure the proper interpretation and implementation of applicable laws, policies and authorisations that govern the disposition of the resource;
    • To ensure laws, policies and authorisations are adhered to; and,
    • To ensure resources are not retained longer or disposed of earlier than legal or internal policies dictate.
  • Disposition policies enable institutions to meet their records management requirements with regard to the disposition of resources that no longer have value.

5. Management and Event History

  • Includes records management processes that log the dates and descriptions of all actions performed on a resource and the identification of the individuals who performed such actions; an audit trail of all actions performed on a resource from its registration to its destruction or transfer to Library and Archives Canada.
  • Purpose:
    • To act as a cumulative audit trail of all movements and management actions which are carried out on a resource over time;
    • To provides a historical log of the records management and control actions performed on a resource;
    • To provide the organizational, positional, and individual context needed to maintain appropriate evidence of specific actions taken on a resource; and,
    • To facilitate linking various details about the agents who perform specific actions on resources to those actions.
  • Supports the evidential value of resources and ensures their authenticity, reliability, and integrity.
  • Government of Canada institutions must maintain reliable evidence about the individuals who have taken key actions on resources in order to meet regulatory, business, and accountability requirements.
  • Management and Event History will need to incorporate linked information about agents and (depending on the implementation) the resources themselves. Whether information about an Agent is housed in relational databases and referenced by means of an Agent Identifier or is copied to the log of each resource is an implementation decision left to the institution and its particular records management application.

The following tables summarize the information from above:

Thematic Area Element Reference Number Element
1. Description
  8.2 Addressee
  8.9 Aggregation
  8.10 Approved By
  8.11 Approved Date
  8.14 Container From Date
  8.15 Container To Date
  8.16 Creator
  8.17 Data Format
  8.18 Description
  8.29 Format Extent
  8.30 Format Medium
  8.31 Identifier
  8.32 Language
  8.35 Record Date
  8.36 Record Locked
  8.43 Subject
  8.45 Title
  8.49 Type
2. Organization
  8.1 Access Rights
  8.12 Compound Record Links
  8.21 Encryption Description
  8.22 Encryption Status
  8.27 File Code
  8.28 File Name
  8.34 Office of Primary Interest
  8.37 Releasable To
  8.41 Security Clearance
  8.42 Sensitivity
  8.44 Supplemental Markings
  8.46 Trustee Individual Name
  8.47 Trustee Institution Name
  8.48 Trustee Institutional Entity
  8.50 Usage Conditions
3. Maintenance, Protection and Preservation
  8.13 Container
  8.23 Essential Status
  8.33 Location
  8.38 Retention Period
  8.39 Retention Trigger
  8.40 Retention Trigger Date
4. Disposition
  8.19 Disposition Action
  8.20 Disposition Authority
5. Management and Event History
  8.3 Agent Individual Identifier
  8.4 Agent Individual Name
  8.5 Agent Institution Name
  8.6 Agent Institutional Entity
  8.7 Agent Position Title
  8.8 Agent Role
  8.24 Event Date/Time
  8.25 Event Description
  8.26 Event Type

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