Digital Preservation—OAIS-Compliant Metadata

This activity is now closed. The information on this page is provided for historical purposes only.

In early 2000 RLG and OCLC Online Computer Library Center begun discussing ways the two organizations could cooperate to create infrastructures for digital archiving. OCLC took the lead in defining descriptive and management metadata needed in the long-term retention of digital files. A group of jointly appointed international experts participated.

This work resulted in the June 2002 report, Preservation Metadata and the OAIS Information Model: Metadata Framework to Support the Preservation of Digital Objects. This document provides a set of metadata elements mapped to an expanded conceptual structure for the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model. It underlies further work by RLG and OCLC and serves many other institutions and organizations dealing with the long-term retention of digital materials.


OCLC and RLG formed a planning committee that included, from OCLC, Meg Bellinger, Brian Lavoie, and Ed O'Neill, and, from RLG, Robin Dale and Nancy Elkington. The 2000-2002 Preservation Metadata Working Group included these experts:

Michael Alexander
British Library
Kevin Bradley
National Library of Australia
Michael Day
UKOLN (The UK Office for Library and Information Networking)
Rebecca Guenther
Library of Congress
Bernard Hurley
University of California, Brkeley
Catherine Lupovici
NEDLIB (Networked European Deposit Library project)
Oya Rieger
Cornell University
Derek Sergeant
CEDARS (CURL Exemplars in Digital Archives project)
Titia van der Werf
Colin Webb
National Library of Australia
Robin Wendler
Harvard University
Deborah Woodyard
British Library

The group was charged to:

  • Define the concept of preservation metadata, describe its importance in the context of the overall digital preservation process, examine the "state of the art" in the use of metadata in support of digital preservation, and evaluate the prospects for a communitywide, consensus-building activity in the area of preservation metadata.
  • Develop a framework outlining the types of information (metadata) that should be associated with an archived digital object.

In January 2001 the group addressed the first objective with a 50-page Web-published paper, Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects: A Review of the State of the Art , in pdf format . That document set the stage for their final report in June.

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