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TOTEM (Trustworthy Online Technical Environment Metadata Database)

Digital objects are connected intimately with the technical environments on which they were created and used. In order to ensure long term preservation of, and access to, digital material it is essential to record carefully the hardware and software dependencies of each digital object in a preserved corpus. Typical information required includes details of the computer hardware, operating system, plug-ins, software libraries etc, which a preserved object originally required, together with information on the hardware and software environment which was used during any subsequent preservation actions such as migration or emulation. Assembling and maintaining even the basic technical environment metadata required is a time-consuming, detailed and complex task. To address this challenge, the University of Portsmouth Future Proof Computing Group, working as part of the European Commission KEEP project developed the TOTEM (Trustworthy Online Technical Environment Metadata) technical registry. The TOTEM generic data models, a database implementation, and a metadata schema have been combined with a compatible OWL ontology created within the European Commission PLANETS project, by the University of Cologne professorship for Computer Science in the Humanities, and are presented in this volume. The applications of TOTEM are many and far-reaching: memory institutions and commercial enterprises alike will be able to use this tool to look up a plethora of various technical environments for all manner of digital objects including digital art and eventually 3D visualizations and simulations.