ISO 14721: Open Archival Information System

Born out of the need to preserve space research data, OAIS is the cornerstone of digital preservation. It is a high-level conceptual model for a system that would accept, preserve, and provide access to digital content.  It provides an overview of terminology that is used to discuss digital preservation.  OAIS began as recommended practices for participating space agencies and has been adopted by the ISO (see links, below).  It is not a standard; rather, it is a guideline for structuring digital preservation.  It is designed to be applicable to any archive or organization that creates materials that require long-term preservation.

Pre-ISO version: Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System, known as the “magenta book”, June 2012.

Official ISO standard: Space data and information transfer systems — Open archival information system (OAIS) — Reference model, September 2012


Trusted Digital Repositories (ISO 16363)

Formerly referred to as “TRAC,”  Trusted Repositories Audit & Certification, Trusted Digital Repositories is a guideline for assessing an organization’s ability to preserve digital collections and make them widely available. It provides a way for organizations to measure their level of compliance with the OAIS model of digital preservation, and includes checks for three areas of preservation: organizational infrastructure, digital object management, and technologies, technical infrastructure, and security.  See links below for more information

Pre-ISO version: Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist, February 2007

Official ISO standard: Space data and information transfer systems — Audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories, February 2012

ISO 16919: Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of candidate trustworthy digital repositories

ISO 16919 is a set of standards for setting up organizations that audit digital repositories and a guideline for assessing the ability to assess an organization.  It is meant to certify those who identify whether an organization is a trusted repository and uses the terminology and concepts set out in the OAIS model.  See links below for more information.

Pre-ISO version: Requirements for Bodies Providing Audit and Certification of Candidate Trustworthy Digital Repositories, known as the “red book”, October 2010 

Official ISO standard: Space data and information transfer systems — Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of candidate trustworthy digital repositories

PREMIS: Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies

Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies (PREMIS) was conceived in 2003 by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the Research Libraries Group (RLG).  The resulting working group sought to establish a standard for metadata that would ensure the usability of digital objects for the long term.  With the most recent PREMIS update (June, 2015), four core pieces of metadata – called “entities) – were found to be crucial for long-term access to digital materials: Objects, Events, Agents and Rights.  In previous models, a fifth entity, Environment, was included in the PREMIS data model.  The 2015 update, however, has identified Environment as part of the Object data set.

To simplify, PREMIS recommends that the following pieces of information be used to describe any digital item:

Object entity describes the object (file type, bitstream, web page, book, photograph), and can have one or more digital representations. The Object entity can have one or more rights statements.

Event entity identifies relevant dates that modify an item (publication, digitization, migration).  Those dates that do not modify an item may be recorded but this isn’t necessary.

Agent entity refers to those pieces of metadata related to persons, organizations, or software.  Please note that software may also be linked as an object; the PREMIS Data Dictionary (linked below) offers more information on this.

Rights entity includes rights and use statements.

For more information on PREMIS and how to follow this standard in your organization, please see the full PREMIS report or the PREMIS Data Dictionary (this link does not include introductory materials). The Library of Congress offers extensive information on PREMIS, including links to usage and other training materials.