Time and steps
Within an activity, as described or defined in the context, the information objects
are used and exchanged with other activities. Activities that are part of their own set
of meaningful information (MI). Please note that when the word activity is
mentioned, it is not about the (trans)action itself but about what happens with
information and information objects during that activity.
From both the previously mentioned concept of "something" and the example of
the activity of refuelling, the core elements in question are perhaps self-explanatory
and visible. These are the time factor, the sequence of the steps within the
information is processed and the moment the exchange of information takes place.
The aspects of time are the beginning, the end and the moments in between.
There are four aspects in the processing of information that are most likely default.
Firstly, it is the step of assessing and appraising to get an answer to the question if the
information in the information object has to be used and therefore ingested. When
the answer is positive, the information object can be ingested and registered. Then
the information can be interpreted and used within the context of the activity. Also,
information can be changed, added or new information objects can be created.
Within the fourth default step the used or created information is saved and kept for
reasons of availability and accessibility or is perhaps disposed, transferred or
The steps when information is assessed, appraised, used and eventually saved or
destroyed are usually not sequential. An often-enforced sequence can be found
especially in formal situations where evidence, accountability, control and
supervision play an important role. In other cases, it is therefore not strange when
the steps mostly seem to run across. For example, during the time of use, the used
information can directly be destroyed.
rienk jonker a perfect match? connecting partners in the labyrinth of information
The exchange element
It is important to understand what happens when information is exchanged on a
certain level of abstraction. Certainly, for archivists with that understanding and
their deep rooted archival knowledge it is possible to determine which parts of
digital information must be archived. It is also possible to ascertain conditions and
requirements the exchange should meet. For an archivist the message is always an
information object, be it a document, a set of documents or datasets. Therefore, this
information object has the same characteristics as every other information object;
there is a content, a structure, a context, a behaviour and technology.
Messages and additional metadata for sending and receiving are wrapped in a
container, an envelope which is in again an information object.
The exchange model is a straightforward broad concept; there is always a message, a
sender, a receiver, and a channel. It is always a form of communication between one
or more parties (actors and processes). It is necessary that information will get from
place a to b unhindered and undamaged. In many cases, the received message after
unwrapping and accepting becomes part of a new context. Although this is of
concern for the sender, it is nevertheless beyond his reach. It is just a fact. As a result,
the intention of the transmitter may not always occur to the recipient. Therefore,
transmitted information must be provided with sufficient metadata to convey the
From the perspective of an archivist, the communication model may look as in the
This kind of exchange takes place at the moment when, for example
Information is exchanged directly between or inside processes, projects or other
activities, high standards of interoperability are necessary;
Information is exchanged via messaging, chat, correspondence via surface mail;
Information is published on websites; open data sets are made available;
Transferring information from one actor to another, an action that involves a move
or migration, where the original is deleted (destroyed) after a successful transfer.
High standards of interoperability are necessary.
archives in liquid times
(message, make available, transfer)
(message, fetch, acquire)
Table 4. Activity - Elements and aspects
Container with wrapper
and information object(s)
Figure 8. Exchange model