An Open Archive Information System (or OAIS) is an archive, consisting of an organization of people and systems, that has accepted responsibility for preserving information and making it available to a Designated Community.
The OAIS model can be applied to various files, e.g., open, closed, restricted, “obscure” or proprietary access.
Information that is archived has been deemed to need “long-term preservation”, even if the OAIS itself is not permanent.
“Long term” is long enough to worry about the impact of changing technologies, including support for new media and data formats, or a changing user community.
“Long term” can be extended indefinitely.
The OAIS defines a long period of time as any period that could be affected by changing technologies and the change of “Designated Community”, i.e., any group of consumers capable of understanding the information.
This period can be indefinite. The file defines the community, and that definition is not fixed.
The Environment and the OAIS information model:
The OAIS environment involves the interaction of four entities: information producers, information consumers (or the Designated Community), administration, and the archive itself.
The management component of the OAIS environment is not an entity that performs the day-to-day maintenance of a file, but rather a person or group that sets policies for the content of the files.
The OAIS model also defines an information model. Physical or digital items that contain information are known as data objects.
Members of the designated community of an archive must be able to interpret and understand the information contained in a data object because of its established knowledge base or with the help of supplemental “proxy information” that is included with the data object.
On the information management market, there are solutions that extract documents from an ECM, EIM, or ERP system and store them in archiving databases.
To fulfill the goal of value preservation, all archiving solutions need to document the lifecycle of the document and collect contextual information.
What most of these solutions lack, is the creation of an Archival Information Package (AIP) that is the core of an OAIS-compliant solution. An AIP is a digital object that gathers all this information and enables the long-term preservation of it.
How can you comply?
The benefits of this digital archiving solution are the following:
- Ensure authenticity through metadata extraction and validation
- Ensure integrity through fixity checks and timestamping
- Ensure readability through format identification and conversion
All the metadata that is extracted or generated in this process will be gathered into an XML file that follows a state-of-the-art standard in metadata management such as METS & PREMIS.
The OAIS Primer will also allow you to ensure the preservation planning since it will give you an overview of the formats that are present in your archive.
On a regular basis, you can monitor the file formats in your archive, document them, and decide to convert them to a new file format.
A digital archiving solution can’t miss the creation and management of an AIP as it is mandatory to legally preserve documents regarding Belgian law.
Interested to know more? Send us a message via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll sit together to see how we can help you reach this goal.