What Happens When Documents Become Data

John Sheridan

Archivists that deal with government data have a huge problem following the changes in legislation.  John Sheridan, Head, e-Services and Strategy at the UK National Archives presented a fascinating insight into the problems.

When documents meet data, things such as identifiers, documents, and representations must be named, so granular URIs are needed.  One piece of legislation can have far reaching effects; for example:

Imagine the difficulties in representing this as data and then keeping up with all the rapidly occurring changes.  To manage this data, a consistent addressing scheme must be followed; here are examples that have been developed by the UK National Archives:

We need unambiguous definitions for searching.  But changes are continuous.  How can we keep up?  Turn the text into data, which will produce an excellent list of search terms.  Documents thus become data.  Even dates and times must be controlled, so the National Archives has defined URIs for dates and times.

Here are Sheridan’s conclusions:

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor


  1. Tweets that mention What Happens When Documents Become Data -- Topsy.com - December 1, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kate Theimer and Philip Adams, National Archives UK. National Archives UK said: RT @archivesnext: RT @itishows What Happens When Documents Become Data http://iti.bz/13s [John Sheridan of @UkNatArchives ] […]