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Digital Preservation: The OAIS Model

This guide is an introduction to fundamental concepts of digital preservation.

The OAIS Model

The image above, titled OAIS Functional Model (en).svg, by Mess, has been assigned a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. The work is a derivative of Schema fonctionnel modele oais.jpg, by Mathieu-Alex Haché.

The Open Archival Information System Reference Model (ISO 14721), known as OAIS, is frequently referenced in discussions about digital preservation. The model provides a general outline that can guide archives and repositories in establishing workflows that facilitate long-term preservation and access to digital objects. It covers the management of digital objects from the point of ingest all the way to when the information is retrieved by end users.

Three types of information packages: SIP, AIP, & DIP

A central aspect of the OAIS model is that it names three distinct types of information packages:

  • The Submission Information Package (SIP) - Consists of the digital objects submitted to a repository for preservation, along with their accompanying metadata and documentation.
  • The Archival Information Package (AIP) - This package consists of the digital objects, now stored in the repository, and their associated documentation, which is necessary for preservation and access. This includes provenance and fixity information, technical metadata, and other contextual information.   
  • The Dissemination Information Package (DIP) - This package is what is retrieved by a user when accessing the digital object through the repository's user interface. 

More on OAIS

Below are a few links that will help you learn more about OAIS.

An OAIS quiz!

Here's a quiz to check how well you understand the OAIS Model! Click here.

Other models and standards

These are other models and standards that are associated with digital preservation. Click on the hyperlinked text or the images for more information.