Glossary search


Broader Term: 

n. ~ The manner in which elements are organized, interrelated, and displayed.


Along with content and context, structure is one of the three fundamental aspects of a record. Internal structure includes the relationship of content within a record, while external structure places a record in the context of an order, a series, and a collection. Structure also refers to the appearance of a document, including the fonts and formatting of the text and any associated graphics.

(Digital Preservation Testbed 2003, p. 16) The structure of a digital record refers to the structure as it was originally made and reproduced on the screen. This is the logical hierarchy of, and the relationships between, the parts of the record. The structural elements of email are, for example, the headers, the message text and any attachments. The structural elements of a report (a text document) on the other hand can be formed by a cover sheet, a table of contents, chapters (divided into sections and paragraphs) and a bibliography and/or appendices. ¶ It is important that these structural elements are correctly identified and that sections of the email or report are reproduced in the right order. It is also important to know whether there are other essential structural characteristics, for example the presence of footnotes or endnotes in a text document. If this structure is lost as the result of a migration, the record may be reproduced wrongly.
(McGovern and Samuels 1997, p. 19) Structure is the format of the document, such as a purchase order, registration form, or memorandum. ¶ For paper records, all of the characteristics are embedded in each physical artifact, or document. In electronic form, while the content of the message may be somewhat familiar, the context and structure are embedded in hardware and software.