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When Digital Objects Change -- Exactly What Changes?

Allen Renear, David Dubin and Karen Wickett

ASIS&T 2008 Annual Meeting (AM08 2008)
Columbus, Ohio, October 24-29, 2008


Formal accounts of digital objects typically characterize them as strings, tuples, sets, graphs or some other constructs from discrete mathematics. Such a characterization implies that these objects cannot undergo real change, such as losing or gaining parts, or having their internal parts rearranged. And yet our discourse about digital objects seems, at least if taken literally, to imply that those objects routinely undergo real change. One strategy for dealing with this inconsistency is to affirm an account which leaves information objects immutable and re-locates change in the persons and communities interacting with these objects.

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