Digital objects and documentation of intangible cultural heritage pose new challenges for most museums, which have a long history in preserving tangible objects. Art museums, however, have been working with digital objects for some decades, as they have been collecting media art. Yet, performance art as an ephemeral art form has been a challenge for art museums’ collection work. This article presents a method for archiving digital and audiovisual performance documentation. D-ark (digital performance art archive) is based on a joint effort by the artist community T.E.H.D.A.S., which has created the archive, and Pori Art Museum, which is committed to preserving the archive for the future. The aim is to produce sufficient standardized metadata to support this objective. This article addresses the problems of documenting an ephemeral art form and copyright issues pertaining to both the artist and the videographer. The concept of D-ark includes a modular metadata schema that makes a distinction between descriptive, administrative, and technical metadata. The model is designed to be flexible—new modules of objects or technical metadata can be added in the future, if necessary. D-ark metadata schema deploys the FRBRoo, Premis, VideoMD, and AudioMD standards. Administrative and technical metadata modules abide by Finnish digital preservation specifications.
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