Written By John H. Coleman, Ph.D. For comments, contact: John.Coleman@Engility.com
A digital artifact is any combination of professional data, information, knowledge, and wisdom (DIKW Pyramid)  expressed in digital form and exchanged within a digital ecosystem.
A digital artifact is any combination of professional data, information, knowledge, and wisdom (DIKW) expressed in digital form and exchanged within a digital ecosystem. During an exchange, the originator’s digital form of DIKW remains intact and is interpretable by the recipient. Professionals and tradespersons create digital artifacts when they produce DIKW in, or convert items to, digital forms with the aid of digital technologies. The digital artifact encodes data, behaviors, attributes, or properties that software applications use to retrieve and display the digital forms of professional DIKW.
Many professional disciplines create, store, and display a variety of their DIKW to share with large numbers of stakeholders by way of numerous digital technologies. Thus, there are uncountable ways to express the unique combinations of multidisciplinary DIKW, stakeholders’ information needs, and digital technologies. To classify the digital expressions of professional DIKW, the Digital Engineering Community develop the concept of a Digital Artifact as the universal set of digital forms that practitioners use to express their thoughts. As a subset, there are engineering digital artifacts that are relevant and useful in conveying engineering DIKW in digital forms. Therefore, a unique combination of engineering DIKW expressed in digital form is an engineering digital artifact.
To distinguish the digital artifact from raw digital data with no context, the Digital Engineering Community established a set of characteristics to classify digital data as a digital artifact. The characteristics of a digital artifact are as follows:
A digital artifact may be…
Digital Artifact, as stated by the Defense Acquisition University’s Glossary Website, describes the concept as follows:
Digital Entity as stated on Society of American Archivists on the Defined Term Website describes the concept as follows:
Digital Object as stated on Society of American Archivists’ website titled “Defined Term” describes the concept as follows:
Digital Asset as defined by the Technopedia website titled “Digital Asset” describes the concept as follows:
Digital Information Content Asset as defined by ISO/IEC 19770-1:2017 Information technology – IT asset management – Part 1: IT asset management systems–Requirements, 3.18 describes the topic as follows:
 Wikipedia.org, “DIKW pyramid,” Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 8 July 2018. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIKW_pyramid. [Accessed 5 September 2018].
 ODSAD(SE), Office of Deputy Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, “Defense Acquisition Glossary,” Defense Acquisition University, 28 September 2007. [Online]. Available: https://www.dau.mil/glossary/Pages/Default.aspx. [Accessed 22 May 2018].
 R. Pearce-Moses, “A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology,” The Society of American Archivists, 2005. [Online]. Available: https://definedterm.com/a/document/11477. [Accessed 25 July 2018].
 Techopedia™, “Techopedia Dictionary: Digital Asset,” Techopedia™ Inc., 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/23367/digital-asset. [Accessed 1 August 2018].
 ISO/IEC 19770-1:2017, “Software and systems Engineering vocabulary (SE VOCAB),” IEEE, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://sev_display/,DanaInfo=pascal.computer.org,SSL+search.action;jsessionid=90cf2cf7de0767815980908361c1. [Accessed 7 January 2019].
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