Conformance Check List

Scope of the Conformance Check List

In a wide range of domains from aviation to construction and from healthcare to project management check lists are increasingly common as a mechanism to control process quality (e.g. by reducing errors), to ensure compliance with performance guidelines, to provide transparent mechanisms for understanding and using complex systems, and to facilitate consistency of action between practitioners. They enable audit consistency, and provide a method for understanding complex systems. The project has elaborated this Digital Library Reference Model Conformance Checklist to provide a set of statements that will enable assessors to determine whether or not their library is compliant with the Digital Library Reference Model, to enable those designing a new digital library to determine whether or not their planned library application is compliant with the Digital Library Reference Model, and to make it feasible for those who would like to use a digital library to hold their content, as a resource, or for any other purpose to establish its compliance. The structured nature of the check list reduces ambiguity, a common aspect of assessments of this kind. Within the realm of digital libraries, The Digital Library Reference Model delivers a common vocabulary and model for communication on digital libraries and their characteristics. The Checklist supports assessment of compliance of digital libraries and systems with the model and comparisions between different digital libraries.

This check list has been designed to be used by assessors, from a system designer to a digital librarian or from a funder to a digital library content contributor who seeks to determine whether or not their digital library, or a specific digital library service or system, conforms to the Digital Library Reference Model. It will help DL designers involved in building new digital library services or systems to assess whether or not their design will deliver a digital library management system that conforms to the Digital Library Reference Model. The check list will allow an auditor (or researcher) to internally or externally assess information systems, which claim to be digital libraries, for conformance with the Digital Library Reference Model. Digital Library depositors and users will be able to make their own assessments with the check list. It is expected that these roles overlap. While we intend that the users of the check list should be varied, we recognise that only staff (or auditors) with broad access to the digital library at several core levels will be able to complete all the checklist sections, and that a complete assessment will require the participation of more than one Digital Library actor.

There will be many ways to use the results of applying the check list. For instance, a registry of assessed digital libraries might be created and maintained to make available the conformance check list results; such a registry would help policy makers and Digital Library managers to identify the key steps towards the implementation or development of a digital library, or even specific components or services to strengthen and innovate. Alternatively, Digital Library Designers might use the Check list in an inspirational way to test whether or not the Digital Library that they are proposing to develop conforms to the model.

The check list – in conjunction with the Digital Library Reference Model – can also be used as an educational tool; the process of employing the Digital Library Reference Model requires the user to ask questions and to develop an appreciation of the Reference Model's attributes and subtleties. With the check list in place, teachers will be able to use it in conjunction with the Digital Library Reference Model to enable students to study different digital libraries and to develop an understanding of their attributes and their processes.

The following set of criteria results from an analysis of the Digital Library Reference Model concepts and relationships. These criteria have been selected because of their discriminating power with respect to defining whether a ‘digital library’ conforms to the characterisation of such systems as envisaged by the Digital Library Reference Model. The presentation of the criteria is structured according to the six domains characterising the digital library service (Content, User, Functionality, Policy, Quality and Architecture) for the sake of usability and interoperability between the Checklist and the model.