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Minnesota  State Archives

Electronic Records Management Guidelines

Glossary

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Architecture

An enterprise-wide architecture is a logically consistent set of principles that guide the design and development of an organization's information systems and technology infrastructure.


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Backward-compatible

The ability of a software program or piece of hardware to read files in previous versions of the software or hardware.

Bits

The smallest discrete units of digital data. Short for binary digit.

Byte

Eight consecutive bits of digital data.

Bitmap (BMP files)

A relatively low quality digital image file format, used most often in word processing applications. BMP format creates a lossless compression. Files end with a .bmp extension.


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Checksum

A checksum is a count of the number of bits in a transmission unit that is included with the unit so that the receiver can check to see whether the same number of bits arrived. If the counts match, then one can assume that the complete transmission was received.

Compact Disk (CD)

A type of optical disk storage media, compact disks come in a variety of formats. These formats include CD-ROMs that are read-only, CD-Rs that you can write to once and are then read-only, and CD-RWs that you can write to in multiple sessions.

Compound document

A document with multiple elements (e.g., images, text, animation, hypertext).

Compression

A process, using special software, that reduces the file size of a given electronic file.

Conversion

Changing a record's file format, often to make the record software-independent and in a standard or open format.


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Digital Audio Tape (DAT)

A type of digital storage media, DATs are in a cartridge format a little larger than a credit card. The industry standard for DAT cartridge format is a digital data storage (DDS) cartridge. DDS cartridges provide sequential access.

Digital data

Data that consists, at its most basic level, of just 0s and 1s.

Digital signature

"A transformation of a message using an asymmetric cryptosystem such that a person having the initial message and the signer's public key can accurately determine: (1) whether the transformation was created using the private key that corresponds to the signer's public key; and (2) whether the initial message has been altered since the transformation was made" (Minnesota Statutes, section 325K).

Digital Versatile Disk (DVD)

An optical disk with more storage capacity than CD-ROMs, these disks are also called digital video disks, but do not necessarily include video. Common types of DVDs include: DVD-ROM (read-only), DVD-RAM (rewritable), DVD+RW (competitor to DVD-RAM with similar functionality slightly greater storage capacity).

Digital Versatile Disk–Random Access Memory (DVD-RAM)

These DVDs are rewritable disks with exceptional storage capacity.

Digital Versatile Disk–Read Only Memory (DVD-ROM)

These DVDs are read-only disks that also have enough storage capacity for a full-length feature film. They are accessed using a special DVD drive attached to a personal computer. Most of these drives are backward-compatible with CD-ROMs and can play DVD video disks. DVD-Rs can be written to once and are then read-only.

Digital Versatile Disk + ReWritable (DVD+RW)

DVD+RW is a direct competitor to DVD-RAM with similar functionality and slightly greater storage capacity.

Disposal date

The date on which the records retention period for a given records series expires and the records may be disposed of, either by destruction or transfer to the Minnesota State Archives.

Disposition

Either the destruction of a record or the transfer of the record to the Minnesota State Archives.

Dublin Core metadata set

A widely used set of metadata elements that is easily embedded in a web page


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Erasable Optical (EO) disk

The user can write to, read from, and erase from EO disks as often as they can magnetic disks. EO disks require special hardware.

Electronic document management system (EDMS)

A software program and supporting hardware that automate and integrate the records management process.

Electronic mail (e-mail)

Electronic correspondence sent from one user to one or more recipients.

Electronic record

"A record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means" (Minnesota Statutes, section 305L.02).

Electronic signature

"An electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record" (Minnesota Statutes, section 325L).

Extranet

A type of Internet site to which organizations allow only selected external access.


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File name

The name of the file independent of location.

File path

The location of the file as it is stored in a series of directories.

File transfer protocol (FTP)

A type of URL that is commonly used to store and exchange large files.

Forward-compatible

The ability of a software program to create files that can be read by more advanced versions of the software.

Free-text search

A document searching function that searches every word in a document or specified group of documents.


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Geographic Information System (GIS)

A system of hardware and software used for storage, retrieval, mapping, and analysis of geographic data. A GIS can be as complex as whole systems using dedicated databases and workstations hooked up to a network, or as simple as “off-the-shelf” desktop software. A GIS is able to combine and overlay separate layers of geographic data, making it a valuable tool for organizations needing to map and analyze spatial information.

Gigabyte

1,024 megabytes of digital data.

Gopher

An early URI protocol used primarily in academic and governmental settings that is rarely used today.

Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)

A digital image file format, GIF supports color and grayscale. Limited to 256 colors, GIFs are more effective for images such as logos and graphics rather than color photos or art. It should be noted that although the GIF format is widely used, it is technically proprietary. A lossless compression, files in GIF format end with a .gif extension.

Group list

A list of names and e-mail addresses, organized into a group, that enables the e-mail message sender to enter only the group list name when sending an e-mail message to the group list members.


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Hypertext

A special type of database system that allows links among documents.

Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP)

A protocol commonly used to access resources on the Internet.


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Information

"Data, text, images, sounds, codes, computer programs, software, databases, or the like" (Minnesota Statutes, section 325L.02).

Internet

The vast network of computer systems that enables worldwide connectivity among users and computers.

Intranet

An internal Internet site that cannot be accessed by anyone outside the organization.


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Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)

A digital image file format, JPEG is a lossy compression technique for color and grayscale images. Depending upon the degree of compression, the loss of detail may be visible to the human eye. Files in JPEG format end with a .jpg extension.


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Kilobyte

1,204 bytes of digital data.


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Lossiness

The degree to which data is lost during file compression.

Lossless compression

Refers to data compression techniques in which no data is lost.

Lossy compression

Refers to data compression techniques in which some amount of data is lost. Lossy compression technologies attempt to eliminate redundant or unnecessary information.


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Magnetic disk

A type of digital storage media, magnetic disks include the hard disk found in your computer that stores the programs and files you work with daily. Magnetic disks provide random access. Also included are removable hard disks, floppy disks, zip disks, and removable cartridges.

Magnetic tape

A type of digital storage media, magnetic tapes come in reel-to-reel as well as cartridge format (encased in a housing for ease of use). The two main advantages of magnetic tapes are their relatively low cost and their large storage capacities (up to several gigabytes). Magnetic tapes provide sequential access to stored information, which is slower than the random access of magnetic disks. Magnetic tapes are a common choice for long-term storage or the transport of large volumes of information.

Mailto

This protocol is used for e-mail exchange.

Megabyte

1,024 kilobytes of digital data.

Metadata

Data about data. Information (e.g., creator name, creation date) that is used to facilitate intellectual control of, and structured access to, other information.

Migration

Moving files to another computer platform which may require changing their formats.


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Nearline storage

Storage in a system that is not a direct part of the network in daily use, but that can be accessed through the network.

News

A URI access protocol for newsgroups.


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Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

OCR is the recognition of printed or written text characters by a computer. This involves analysis of the scanned-in image, and then translation of the character image into character codes, such as ASCII. OCR is being applied by libraries, businesses, and government agencies to create text-searchable files for digital collections. OCR is also used to help process checks and credit card slips and sort the mail.

Offline storage

The storage of digital data outside the network in daily use (e.g., on backup tapes) that is only accessible through the offline storage system, not the network.

Online storage

The storage of digital data as fully accessible information on the network in daily use.


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Persistent uniform resource locator (PURL)

A type of URI scheme that is functionally a URL, but that redirects the user to a PURL server instead of the URL.

Pixel

A dot of color in a raster-based graphics file.

Pixel Bit-Depth

Defines the number of shades that can actually be represented by the amount of information saved for each pixel. These can range from 1 bit/pixel for binary (fax type) images to 24 bits per pixel or greater in high quality color images.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

PDFs are useful for viewing and printing multiple documents and images. Commonly used to capture, distribute, and store electronic documents, PDF preserves the fonts, images, graphics, and overall “look” of the original digital files. As with the GIF format, the PDF format is proprietary, although widely used. Files in PDF often end with a .pdf extension.

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) files

A digital image file format, PNG files are designed to replace GIF files. PNG files can be ten to thirty percent more compressed than GIFs. PNG is completely patent and license free and is of higher quality than GIF. A lossless compression, files in PNG format end with a .png extension.


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Raster graphics

A type of graphics file that stores the images as a collection of pixels. Also called bitmapped images.

Record

According to the State of Minnesota, an item that documents an official government transaction or action.

"All cards, correspondence, disks, maps, memoranda, microfilm, papers, photographs, recordings, reports, tapes, writings and other data, information or documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, storage media or condition of use, made or received by an officer or agency of the state and an officer or agency of a county, city, town, school, district, municipal, subdivision or corporation or other public authority or political entity within the state pursuant to state law or in connection with the translation of public business by an officer or agency… The term ‘records’ excludes data and information that does not become part of an official translation, library and museum material made or acquired and kept solely for reference or exhibit purpose, extra copies of documents kept only for convenience of reference and stock of publications and process documents, and bond, coupons, or other obligations or evidence of indebtedness, the destruction or other disposition of which is governed by other laws" (Minnesota Statutes, section 138.17, subd.1).

"Information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form" (Minnesota Statutes, section 325L.02).

Recordkeeping

The act or process of creating, maintaining, and disposing of records. See also Records management.

Records continuum

An Australian concept that holds that each person who touches the record should manage the record during its existence, using the stage of the record (e.g., creation, use, long-term storage) as a reference point, not a separate function.

Records management

The planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities related to the creation, maintenance, use, and disposition of records. See also Recordkeeping.

Records retention period

The length of time a given records series must be kept, expressed as either a time period (e.g., four years), an event or action (e.g., audit), or a combination (e.g., six months after audit).

Records retention schedule

A plan for the management of records listing types of records and how long they should be kept; the purpose is to provide continuing authority to dispose of or transfer records to the Minnesota State Archives.

Records series

Records arranged according to a filing system or kept together because they relate to a particular subject or function or result from the same activity.


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Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)

A digital image format, TIFF supports black and white, gray-scaled, and color. TIFF is a non-proprietary format offering the option of lossless compression. TIFF files are usually indicated with the .tif extension.

Telnet

A URI access protocol that provides the user remote control (not just access) to another computer. Most commonly used for interactive, text-based sites.

Terabyte

1,024 gigabytes of digital data.

Transfer protocol

A series of commands that defines how information is formatted, retrieved, and delivered. Usually used in reference to information transferred over the Internet.


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Uniform resource identifier (URI)

A short text string that describes an item on the Internet. Also known as the resource's "address."

Uniform resource locator (URL)

A type of URI scheme that allows users to access resources on the Internet.

Uniform resource name (URN)

A type of URI scheme that is designed to serve as a persistent, location-independent resource identifier.


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Vector graphics

A type of graphics file that stores the image as a collection of geometric shapes.

Vital record

A record that is essential to the organization's operation or to the reestablishment of the organization after a disaster.


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Web site

A collection of Uniform Resource Indicators (URIs) in the control of one administrative entity. May include different types of URIs (e.g., file transfer protocol sites, telnet sites, as well as World Wide Web sites).

Web site snapshot

The capture of a complete web site as a backup copy using special software.

 

 

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Electronic Records Management Guidelines, March 2012, Version 5.