For some time we've had alternate ideas about the nature and essential definition of a Digital Object (DO). The term is used widely (4,340,000 hits in google) but with different implicit ideas in various communities. Of course this is far from the only term with differing views from different communities, but this one seems central to communites and workers with
"digital object identifiers"
(3,840,000 hits),Persistent identifiers (896,000), Persistent identifiers and PIDs ( 14,400) and groups like DataCite.
DOs in the archive context are discussed differently than we some other contexts. In Europeana they discuss digital objects as playable or viewable as computer files (JPEG, PDF, MP3, AVI etc)..They don't have PIDs in general...they have URIs
Given such difference it seems usefel to have some discussion from the community on this.
Below are 2 of the definitions currently in the DFT term tool.
1. A digital object is composed of structured sequence of bits/bytes. As an object it is named. The bit sequence realizing the object can be identified & accessed by a unique and persistent identifier or by use of referencing attributes describing its properties.
2. Digital Object is also called a Digital Entity defined as “machine-independent data structure consisting of one or more elements in digital form that can be parsed by different information systems; the structure helps to enable interoperability among diverse information systems in the Internet.”
On the other hand there is a definition of DO as requiring an ID has one of the models reviewed in the DFT analysis document and goes back to the Kahn-Wilensky framework published in the mid-90s. This requirement for a DO seems at odds with the use of the concept in other models.
Perhaps people in the WG would care to offer their opinions on the alternate defintions and ways to resolve differences to come up with a useful definition. Perhaps alternate terms like "Registered Data Object" could be added. or is this making things too complex?