Policy-oriented Criteria

Policy-oriented Criteria

The following criteria have been selected to verify whether or not the ‘digital library’ conforms to the Digital Library Reference Model from the Policy domain point of view.

Regardless of the type of Policy a ‘digital library’ is conceived for, it must meet at least the following criteria:
» The Digital Library must be regulated by (regulatedBy) a clearly defined set of Policies and this can not be an empty set.
Policies are set of conditions, rules, terms or regulations governing the operation of the DL;
» Access Policies must regulate (regulatedBy) the use of the Digital Library by Actors.
Access Policies are essential to establish conditions, rules, terms or regulations governing the interactions between the Digital Library and Actors.
» Every Policy must be addressed (govern) at least to an Actor (regulatedBy).
Defining the recipients of a Policy ensures the interaction between the Digital Library and its Actor(s).
» Every Policy must have clearly defined scope(s) and characteristics (Policy Quality Parameter).
A Policy must have defined objectives and consequences affecting the DL system as a whole, a certain domain, a specific task or entity.

Additional desired properties of ‘digital library’ policies are:

  • Every Policy should be expressed by (expressedBy) an Information Object.

The digital representation of a Policy ensures its controlled description, management and use within the Digital Library. This representation enables automatic enforcing. Moreover, it is a prerequisite for a series of other automatic actions including policy comparison, policy reconciliation and policy interoperability.

  • Every Policy should have (identifiedBy) a unique identifier (Resource Identifier).

The use of a persistent identifier ensures that each DL Policy is distinguishable from the others in the context of the same Digital Library.

  • Every Policy should have (hasFormat) a known format (Resource Format).

The implementation of a Policy in a known format guarantees that the system is aware of which “structure” each Policy conforms to and that this structure is publicly declared as to be used by third party actors whether human or machine.

Finally, a Policy governing a ‘digital library’ may also meet the following criteria:

  • A Policy may regulate (regulatedBy) the service of the system as a whole (System Policy).
  • Generic processes within the ‘digital library’ may be regulated by policies.
  • A Policy may regulate (regulatedBy) functionalities related to Content (Content Policy).
  • A Policy may regulate processes related to the Content domain.
  • A Policy may regulate (regulatedBy) DL Functions (Functionality Policy).
  • DL Functions’ lifetime and behaviour may be governed by specific policies.
  • A Policy may regulate (regulatedBy) User profiles and behaviour (User Policy).
  • A Policy may regulate processes related to the User domain.
  • A Policy may be extrinsic (Extrinsic Policy).
  • A Policy may be imposed from outside the organisation domain of the ‘digital library’, e.g., by wider organisations regulating the Digital Library itself, by national and international laws, or by customs.
  • A Policy may be intrinsic (Intrinsic Policy).

The Policy governing the Digital Library may be defined and determined by the Digital Library organisation itself. Intrinsic Policy manifests the Policy principles implemented in the DL. A Policy that is defined by the DL or its organisational context that reflects the organisation’s mission and objectives, the intended expectations as to how Actors will interact with the DL, and the expectations of Content Creators as to how their content will be used.

  • A Policy may be implicit (Implicit Policy).

The Policy governing the Digital Library may be inherent by accident or design. Implicit Policies usually arise as a result of ad-hoc decisions taken at system development level or as a consequence of the inadequate testing of a DLS that results in an interaction of Policies leading to unintended policy deployment.

  • A Policy may be explicit (Explicit Policy).

Explicit Policy is a Policy defined by the DL managing organisation and reflecting the objectives of the DL and how it wishes its users to interact with the DL. The implementation of an Explicit Policy at the Digital Library Management System level corresponds to the definition and Actor expectations.

  • A Policy may be prescriptive (Prescriptive Policy).

The Policy governing the Digital Library may constrain the interactions between DL Actors (virtual or real) and the DL. Prescriptive Policies can cover a broad range of Policies from the kind of Function to which specific types of Actors can have access, to those that govern Collection development.

  • A Policy may be descriptive (Descriptive Policy).

Descriptive Policies are used to present the aspects of a particular Policy in the form of explanation. A Descriptive Policy is a Policy that describe modes of behaviour, expectations of Actor interaction, collecting and use guidelines, but which do not manifest themselves through the automated application of rules, as a Prescriptive Policy does.

  • Policy may be enforced (Enforced Policy).

The Policy governing the Digital Library may be deployed and strictly applied within the DL. An Enforced Policy is a Policy applied consistently and strictly in the DL. Monitoring and reporting tools are necessary to follow up how the Policy is being applied.

A Policy may be voluntary (Voluntary Policy).

  • The Policy governing the Digital Library may be monitored by an actor (human or machine). Voluntary Policy basically means a Policy that is followed according to the decision of the Actor. This is valid for all Policies for which its application is a matter of choice. In some cases, users may comply with Policies that are not officially communicated.
  • A Policy may be compound (hasPart).

A Policy may be organised in arbitrarily complex and structured forms. A compound policy may be obtained by properly combining constituent Policies.