DLF logo DLF logo

DLF Home


Architectures, systems and tools

Digital preservation

Digital collections

Standards and practices

Use and users

Roles and responsibilities

DLF Forum

Publications and resources

Draft benchmark functions of digital masters

March 26, 2002

Developed by Stephen Chapman (Harvard University), Janet Gertz (Columbia University), Daniel Greenstein (DLF), Eileen Fenton (JSTOR), Daniel McShane (University of Virginia), Carla Montori (University of Michigan), Chris Rutolo (University of Virginia), David Ruddy (Cornell University), Robin Wendler (Harvard University), John Price Wilkin (University of Michigan)


The DLF has developed and endorsed a benchmark for digitally reformatted monographs and serials. The benchmark focuses largely on format specifications. It leaves for subsequent work specification of the a minimum-level functionality that should be required of a digital master, for example, as would determine what metadata ought to be supplied for it.

That subsequent work has now been completed and the results are available in these draft recommendations.

The draft is being circulated for review and comment and ultimately for endorsement by DLF members and is available at http://www.diglib.org/standards/draftbmfunctions.htm.

Should these recommendations be endorsed, they will be incorporated with those available in the benchmark as a single document.

Comments on these draft recommendations should be sent to dlf@clir.org by June 30, 2002.

Benchmark digital masters must support a number of essential functions including production in print or as an online (onscreen) display, of a faithful, citable rendering of the physical source including the sequencing of its component parts (pages, volumes, etc.). It must also support sequential navigation through the physical components (go to next, previous, first, last, or nth sequential page image).

It will also, where possible, support navigate to, between, and among logical structures (e.g. chapters for monographs; volumes, parts, and issues for serials) and significant features (e.g. tables, illustrations, blank pages). It will also support citation of those features.

These functions will be accomplished through the production of images of appropriate quality (as specified in the benchmark document), and of metadata with appropriate richness.

No recommendations are made with respect to production practices except for sufficient quality control at least to ensure that benchmark specifications are met.

No recommendations are made with respect to metadata and how it is encoded, it is expected that in order to achieve interoperability, metadata and its representation will conform to emerging standards and good practices.

Functions required functions of all digital master

These functions are required of all digital masters.

Representing the relationship between component parts of the physical source (pages, volumes, recto/verso, etc.). Images of blank pages (including backs-of-plates) will be included as sequenced components. Approaches to sequential rendering of particularly complicated materials (two-page spreads, accompanying materials, covers, and foldouts) are available in Annex A (forthcoming).

Supporting association of higher-level metadata with components parts of the physical source as identified (e.g. for the purposes of citation).

Functions required of all digital masters where applicable

These requirements are distinguished from those cited above because they cannot be made of all digital masters. Pagination can only be faithfully supplied where pages are enumerated in the physical source. Placeholders for missing pages can only be reliably supplied for pages that are known to be missing.

Representing, where applicable and in a manner appropriate for the physical object in question, any enumeration found on pages of the physical object. Representation will maintain any distinction that exists in the enumeration of the physical object's component parts (signature pages, preface, etc.)

Including placeholders for known missing pages as sequenced components. In the interest of developing complete digital masters, missing pages and other components should be identified as such in higher-level metadata. Where page images are supplied by third parties, information to that effect should be noted in descriptive metadata.

Functions that are strongly preferred for digital masters

These functions are useful though supplied at additional cost. In some cases they may not be possible to supply at all (e.g. representation of tables and illustrations where they do not exist). They are therefore recommended wherever possible.

Identifying (e.g. for the purpose of rendering and navigation) significant features such as tables, illustrations, blank, missing and supplied pages, maps, etc. An example, of the significant features routinely represented at selected institutions is supplied in Annex B (forthcoming).

Identifying (e.g. for the purpose of rendering and navigation) high-level logical structures.

  • For monographs logical structures may include title pages, tables of contents, lists of illustrations, indexes, chapters, etc. An example, of the logical structures routinely represented at selected institutions is supplied in Annex C (forthcoming)
  • For serials logical structures may include volumes, parts, issues, articles, etc. An example, of the logical structures routinely represented at selected institutions is supplied in Annex D (forthcoming).

For the purposes of citation, etc., it will be possible to support association of higher-level metadata with enumerated pages, logical structures, and features as identified.

Please send comments or suggestions.
Last updated:
© 2000 Council on Library and Information Resources