A Survey of Complex Object Technologies for Digital Libraries

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Publication Date


Publication Title

NASA Technical Memorandum: 211426




Many early web-based digital libraries (DLs) had implicit assumptions reflected in their architecture that the unit of focus in the DL (frequently "reports" or "e-prints") would only be manifested in a single, or at most a few, common file formats such as PDF or PostScript. DLs have now matured to the point where their contents are commonly no longer simple files. Complex objects in DLs have emerged from in response to various requirements, including: simple aggregation of formats and supporting files, bundling additional information to aid digital preservation, creating opaque digital objects for e-commerce applications, and the incorporation of dynamic services with the traditional data files. We examine a representative (but not necessarily exhaustive) number of current and recent historical web-based complex object technologies and projects that are applicable to DLs: Aurora, Buckets, ComMentor, Cryptolopes, Digibox, Document Management Alliance, FEDORA, Kahn-Wilensky Framework Digital Objects, Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard, Multivalent Documents, Open eBooks, VERS Encapsulated Objects, and the Warwick Framework.

Original Publication Citation

Nelson, M. L., Argue, B., Efron, M., Denn, S., & Pattuelli, M. C. (2001). A survey of complex object technologies for digital libraries. NASA Technical Memorandum: 211426. Hampton, VA: NASA Langley Research Center.


0000-0003-3749-8116 (Nelson), 0000-0003-3518-0876 (Pattuelli)

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