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Technical Metadata

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Technical metadata provides information on the technical properties of a digital file or the particular hardware and software environments required in order to render or process digital information.

Why...

Some technical properties are deemed 'significant' in that they are intrinsically required in order to render the message (meaningful content). If we think of a digital raster image; this is made up of a two-dimensional array of pixels, each pixel varying in colour. This property is significant because it is fundamentally required in order to display the correct message - or image in this case. This property has to be shared across all possible representation of the image in any file format.

Other technical properties may not be deemed 'significant' as they are likely file format specific such as the file size or file signature. They are important nonetheless in terms of being able to validate the medium (such as a file format).

Finally, another important part that technical metadata can play is with regards to describing any particular hardware or software required to process or render content. Information around hardware specifications, operating systems and software configurations would help in enabling steps to be taken in order to preserve the environment required to process or render content.

How...

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  • For any files that require uncommon or specialist software to render them, provide details on the software used, including:
    • software name
    • software version
    • operating system used to run the software
    • operating system type (x86 for example)
    • operating system version used to run the software
    • hardware details such as information on the name of the hardware, the processor name and clock speed, and RAM allocation
  • Record any specialist hardware used to process data such as instruments or tools used, including how they were configured or calibrated.
  • If you have developed code in order to create, manage, process, analyse or render data in a particular way we encourage you to make the source code open under a GNU General Public License alongside providing documentation making the code easy to read and understand as well as providing information on any dependencies required in order to execute the code in a particular way.