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Digitial Initiatives: OAIS Reference Model

What is OAIS?

"An OAIS is understood to mean any organization or system charged with the task of preserving information over the long term and making it accessible to a specified class of users (known as the Designated Community). The use of the word "open" in OAIS refers to the fact that the model and future recommendations associated with the model are developed in open forums; it does not make any presuppositions concerning the level of accessibility of information in the archive."

* Lavoie, B. (2000). Meeting the challenges of digital preservation: The OAIS reference model. Retrieved from

The OAIS Reference Model

Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems. (2012, June). Reference model for an open archival information system (OAIS). Washington, DC: CCSDS Secretariat. Retrieved from

Explaining OAIS

"OAIS is based on the concept of information package. An information package has three parts:

  1. The digital object(s) to be preserved
  2. The metadata required at that point in the system
  3. Packaging information

The information package concept recognizes that a digital object consists of more than simply the digital content, in the form of a bit stream, which we want to preserve."

Harvey, R. (2010). Digital curation: A how-to-do-it manual for librarians. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., p. 40.