digital object

n. a unit of information that includes properties (attributes or characteristics of the object) and may also include methods (means of performing operations on the object)


The concept of digital object comes from object-oriented programming. Objects typically include properties and methods. Objects may belong to classes and inherit properties and methods from a parent class. Similarly, an object may have child objects that inherit its properties and methods. Digital objects are an abstraction that can refer to any type of information. The object may be simple or complex, ranging from values used in databases to graphics and sounds. An object called name may include properties such as title, first name, and last name, as well as methods for returning the value of the name in natural language or inverted order. An object called graphic may include properties that define an image, such as dimensions, color scale, and encoding scheme and might include methods that make that image data available at different resolutions. Objects are not necessarily self-contained. For example, a graphics object may require an external piece of software to render the image. In addition to the data that makes up the fundamental content, the object often includes metadata that describes the resource in a manner that supports administration, access, or preservation.