Objective: To explore and support the use of OAIS— Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System—to preserve the types of digital data held and created in libraries, archives, and museums.
Overview: OAIS describes all the functions of a digital repository: how digital objects can be prepared, submitted to an archive, stored for long periods, maintained, and retrieved as needed. It does not address specific technologies, archiving techniques, or types of content. RLG built on the OAIS model in our digital preservation projects such as PREMIS and Digital Repository Certification. We also promoted its understanding and use through RLG forums, staff papers, and this Web page.
One lament frequently heard about the Open Archival Information System is that it is a reference model rather than an implementation plan. As a conceptual framework for a complete, generic archival system, OAIS's strength is in establishing common terms and concepts for describing repository architectures and comparing implementations—without specifying an implementation an organization should use. Because of this flexibility, the reference model has been used by a variety of organizations for planning and designing digital repositories of many different types.
This page indicates how the OAIS model has been used, facilitating comparison between implementations. The OAIS-modeled or -compliant repository schematics below were provided in response to a September 2002 call posted to an OAIS-implementers discussion list or made available in presentations and reports.
Some schematics display how OAIS functional entities are mapped to local processes or entities. Others represent how the OAIS information model is being applied for local SIPs/DIPs/AIPs (submission information/dissemination information/archival information packages).
Cedars Project (CURL Exemplars in Digital Archiving)
- Cedars Guide to the Distributed Digital Archiving Prototype (pdf)
—contains multiple schematics (2002)
Harvard University's Digital Repository
- Proposed OAIS-based E-Journal Archive Mapped to Harvard’s LDI Infrastructure (PowerPoint)
—Best viewed/printed from original presentation slides: Harvard University's Submission Information Package for electronic journals (June 2002) Harvard University's Submission Information Package for electronic journals (June 2002) Harvard University's Submission Information Package for electronic journals (June 2002) (.pdf: 8K/24 pp.)
- Repository schematic
Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB)
- High-level design of a deposit system for electronic publications
—NEDLIB Project (1999)
- OAIS Implementation: DNEP (PowerPoint)
—Presented by Titia van der Werf at 12th International CCSDS meeting (May 2001)
Library of Congress
—Presentation contains multiple schematics (June 2002)
(available from archive.org)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
OCLC Digital Archive
TERM: the Texas Email Repository Model
- OAIS official Web site
Contains an abundance of information related to the effort, including its history, documentation of the reference model and its development, overview of regional efforts, and workshops (both past and future)
- Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (pdf)
The formal specs, adopted by the ISO as ISO 14721:2002
- Preservation Metadata and the OAIS Information Model: A Metadata Framework to Support the Preservation of Digital Objects (pdf)
Presentation by the OCLC-RLG Preservation Metadata Working Group, June 2002
- Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities (pdf)
An RLG-OCLC report (May 2002)
- Submission Information Package (SIP) specification, v. 1.0 draft (pdf)
Harvard E-Journal Archive, Harvard University Library (19 December 2001)
- "Meeting the Challenges of Digital Preservation: The OAIS Reference Model"
OCLC Newsletter, article by Brian Lavoie
- "Preserving Our Digital Heritage" (.pdf RLG News Issue 56, Spring 2003)
A good overview of OAIS, explained in lay terms.
Please note: Archived versions of RLG News are available from the OCLC Corporate Library Collection in the OCLC Digital Archive. Choose the index and browse from here.