n.information in binary form and its associated metadataLacy and Mitchell 1997, 431This finding aid was selected because significant parts of the collection are being digitized—by 1998 more than thirty thousand digital objects should be on-line. The finding aid does not currently link to these digital objects, but links will be added in the next few years.Stout 2002, 14In addition, archives must consider the preservation aspects of converting archival materials into digital objects, as well as the additional need to craft more advanced finding aids to help navigate the architecture of massive archival websites.Cloonan and Sanett 2002, 78Three respondents identified preserving the integrity of the original digital object as a threat.Bellinger et al. 2002, 13. . . [A] digital object is an information object, of any type of information or any format that is expressed in digital form.Besser 2003, 72digital object ¶ Data (the content or “essence” of a digital file) and the metadata describing it, regarded together as a single entity. Also known as a digital asset, an information object, or an information package. May also refer to born digital objects.Lavoie and Dempsey 2004For some purposes, a preserved digital object must be a perfect surrogate for the original, replicating the full range of functionality, as well as the original “look and feel”. But for other purposes, intensive preservation of this kind is unnecessary: perpetuating the object’s intellectual content alone, or even a diminished approximation of the original object, is enough.Hedstrom et al. 2006, 161All preservation strategies can alter the presentation, appearance, behavior, and even content of digital objects, whether converting digital information from one format to another, migrating it to current generations of hardware and software, or using emulation. Any of these strategies may affect hundreds of features, attributes, or properties, such as document layout, font styles, color matching, or the speed of input and output devices, in ways that range from extremely obvious to almost imperceptible.Lee and Tibbo 2011, 134An “Information Package” is a logical unit that includes both a digital object and the other types of information that should be associated with the digital object in order to preserve and provide meaningful access to it over time.Miller 2011, 3Digital object ¶ A resource in a computer-readable format that is either born-digital or is a digitized format of an analog/physical resource. See also Resource.Zhang and Mauney 2013, 182The movement to digitization generates digital objects with associated metadata. As a result, traditional archival materials are supplied with item-level description and metadata when turned into digital objects, a new element in digital archival representation that archivists are challenged to incorporate into the traditional archival description.Mayernik, Phillips, and Nienhouse 2016Approaches to cross-linking digital objects must address this basic definitional question: “what are the objects being linked?” Defining boundaries around digital objects can be difficult, and is highly dependent on contextual factors related to the digital objects’ origins, management, and usage.CDL 2017, 2Something (e.g., an image, an audio recording, a text document) that has been digitally encoded and integrated with metadata to support discovery, use, and storage of those objects. ¶ It should be noted that there is an important distinction between digital objects (e.g., an encoded text document or a digitized image) and the digital collections (e.g., the Online Archive of California) to which they belong. The distinction between digital objects and digital collections is analogous to the distinction between a collection of works by Arthur Conan Doyle and a particular copy of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Continuing the analogy, this document would describe standards for the description, structure and content of the digital Hound. This document, however, would be silent on how to represent the fact that A Study in Scarlet was also part of the collection.Kowalczyk 2018, 13Digital objects are complex, opaque, and fragile. They consist of multiple files and multiple types of files. They need specific technologies to be useable [sic].InterPARES 2020a[digital object] A discrete aggregation of one or more bitstreams and the metadata about the properties of the object and, if applicable, methods of performing operations on the object.CDL 2020bDigital Object ¶ An entity in which one or more content files and their corresponding metadata are united, physically and/or logically, through the use of a digital wrapper. See also complex digital object, simple digital object.Faulder and Jackson 2022, 155Third, the identified tasks are predominately for simple digital objects, rather than complex digital objects or environments, such as email, web collection, databases, or software. Practicing archivists have few standard workflows or regular experience processing complex digital objects; such efforts are largely theoretical or unique projects rather than common practice.NDSA 2022Digital object ¶ A conceptual term that describes an aggregated unit of digital content comprised of one or more related digital files. These related files might include metadata, derivative versions and/or a wrapper to bind the pieces together.
Digital objects may be either simple or complex. Simple digital objects are made up of a single file, such as a PDF or an image, while complex digital objects are made up of multiple files, such as a website or a digitized book. In any case, digital objects include informational content as well as metadata that supports administration, access, and preservation.