OAIS Glossary 2018

OAIS Glossary 2017

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Access is the OAIS Functional Entity that contains the services and functions which make the archival information holdings and related services visible.

Access is assumed to mean continued, ongoing usability of a digital resource, retaining all qualities of authenticity, accuracy and functionality deemed to be essential for the purposes the digital material was created and/or acquired for.

Source: http://www.dpconline.org/advice/preservationhandbook/introduction/definitions-and-concepts


The OAIS Reference model proposes that there are three broad groups of people who have a meaningful role to play in the digital preservation process: Producers, Consumers, and Management.


This OAIS Functional Entity involves:

  • Auditing submissions, negotiating with Producers, and managing the configuration of the system
  • Ensuring that the preservation system conforms with your policies
  • Quality-assurance of the SIPs, ensuring authenticity

Administrative metadata

Administrative metadata comprises both technical metadata and preservation metadata and is generally used for internal management of digital resources.
Source: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ndsa/ndsa-glossary.html


Application software (an application) is a set of computer programs designed to permit the user to perform a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_software

Archival Information Package

An Archival Information Package, commonly referred to as an "AIP," is the form a digital object takes when it is managed in a preservation repository. OAIS defines an AIP as an Information Package, consisting of the digital content and its associated metadata, which is preserved within a Preservation System.

Archival Storage

One of the OAIS Functional Entities.

Archival Storage is digital storage that provides the services and functions for the long-term storage, maintenance, checking, and retrieval of digital objects.


An archive is an accumulation of historical records, or the physical place they are located.

This is the more "traditional" meaning which is usually associated with paper and other analogue materials. But "Archive" means other things in the IT world; see for instance this blog post by Ed Pinsent.


The quality of trustworthiness of a record; the assurance that a record is what it purports to be and has demonstrably not been tampered with or otherwise corrupted.

Source: Adrian Brown, Practical digital preservation. A how-to guide for organizations of any size (2013).



In information technology, a backup, or the process of backing up, refers to the copying and [archiving] of computer data so it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backup

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