Introduction to information encapsulation


Information encapsulation (IE) methods can be distinguished into the categories of

  • packaging and
  • information embedding.

Packaging refers to the aggregation of files or other information formats as equal entities stored in an information container.

Information embedding needs a carrier information entity (file/stream) in which payload information will be embedded.

Application within digital preservation:

There is a diversity of application fields which are not limited to Digital Preservation (DP). Here however, we focus on encapsulation techniques preserving the integrity of the encapsulated information and emphasising the integrity of Digital Objects (DOs), in particular their Significant Properties.

Sustainability of self-describing objects:

In the context of DP, self-describing objects are often a topic of discussion. In their summary of sustainability factors for digital formats, the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program [NDIIP] also refers to self-documentation of objects:

Digital objects that are self-documenting are likely to be easier to sustain over the long term and less vulnerable to catastrophe than data objects that are stored separately from all the metadata needed to render the data as usable information or understand its context.”

By the use of IE techniques, the documentation of an object can be encapsulated together with the object to create a self-describing object.