PAWN and Producers

by wsampson

The Producer-Archive Workflow Network (PAWN) is a platform for handling the ingestion of artifacts into a long term digital repository like Fedora of DSpace. As such it focuses on the Producer-Archive interaction portion described in the Open Archival Information Systems [pdf]. It strives for flexibility in accommodating different producer-archive relationships, most likely found in a distributed system. For example an archivist or repository manager may use PAWN to handle disparate types of data or package producers (manufacturers, individual scholars, students, etc.) who are all going to have different metadata to fill out before submitting the package for ingestion, and for which the processing may be different in regards to individual metadata elements. PAWN is part of a larger tool set being developed by ADAPT (An Approach to Digital Archiving and Preservation Technology).

PAWN seems most applicable in a distributed repository that sees submissions from a variety of different producers. It’s unlikely the Goodwill Computer Museum would need such flexibility for its own repository. That repository will be fairly centralized, only maintaining multiple clients in the building (and perhaps a few remotely in time). Our producers will always be staff or trained volunteers. But the project does highlight that the museum will be seeing submissions from at least two different ‘producers’: the recycling department, individual donations, and perhaps institutional donations.

The recycling department ‘producer’ effectively makes the real producer anonymous. The only exception would be provenance information found on or in the artifact itself (stickers, names in books, disk storage, etc.). Despite the presence of such information, I can’t imagine the museum would be able to use it, as very likely it is outside of the recycling departments’ right to disburse such information.