A checksum is generated by software that reads the bits in the file and generates a unique 32 character alphanumeric string. These strings can be used to determine if the file has been altered in any way simply by running it through the checksum algorithm again. If the strings are exactly the same, the file is unchanged. If they are not, the file has been altered in some way. Checksums are vital when transferring files across the Internet or from one storage medium to another.
– Latin term meaning “information about information.” In the digital realm, metadata is data that describes key information about the digital files (image files, text files, digital audio/video) and when appropriate, the original objects they represent. There are different kinds of ‘metadata’ including:
bibliographic (author/artist, publisher, publication/release date)
technical (related to software things like scanning equipment, software programs, settings used to create/modify the file);
preservation (fixity, checksum information; conservation treatment performed);
provenance (history of ownership);
structural (how the original item is put together hierarchically – page numbers, titles, chapter headings, etc.)