Friday, June 30, 2006

Review of the OAIS Reference Model

Announcement of a Comment Period for the Five Year Review of the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Standard

OAIS Overview

The “Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)” was developed for use in facilitating a broad, discipline independent, consensus on the requirements for an archive or repository to provide permanent, or indefinite long-term, preservation of digital information. It was also intended to support the development of additional digital preservation standards and to encourage digital preservation support by vendors.

An OAIS is an archive consisting of an organization of people and systems that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available to a designated community. The standard defines a set of responsibilities that an OAIS archive must fulfill and this allows an OAIS archive to be distinguished from other uses of the term ‘archive’.

Since its adoption as both Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) and ISO standards, the OAIS Reference Model has been welcomed and widely adopted by virtually all types of digital preservation communities. Most modern digital archiving initiatives reference the OAIS Reference Model standard. It has also been widely used by organizations to inform their implementations of new or upgraded archiving systems.

Five Year Review

In compliance with ISO and CCSDS procedures, a standard must be reviewed every five years and a determination made to reaffirm, modify, or withdraw the existing standard. The “Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)” standard was approved as CCSDS 650.0-B-1 in January 2002 and was approved as ISO standard 14721 in 2003. While the standard can be reaffirmed given its wide usage, it may also be appropriate to begin a revision process. Our view is that any revision must remain backward compatible with regard to major terminology and concepts. Further, we do not plan to expand the general level of detail. A particular interest is to reduce ambiguities and to fill in any missing or weak concepts. To this end, a comment period has been established.

Comment Process

We are soliciting recommendations for updates that will reduce ambiguities or improve missing or weak concepts. We also want to know if you prefer that no changes be made. Please categorized your comments for changes under one of the following:

• Updates needed for clarification
• Updates to add missing concepts or strengthen weak concepts
• Identification of any outdated material

Please be as specific as possible with your suggestions. For this consideration, comments must be received by 30 October, 2006.

Comments may be submitted to:

Should the decision be taken to update the OAIS Reference Model, there should be an opportunity to participate in the process. Please also express your interest in participating and, if known, an indication of your expected level of effort.

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