The term OAIS also refers, by extension, to the ISO OAIS Reference Model for an OAIS. This reference model is defined by recommendation CCSDS 650.0-B-1 of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems, this text is identical to ISO 14721:2003 which is superseded by ISO 14721:2012. The CCSDS’s purview is space agencies, but the OAIS model it developed has proved useful to a wide variety of other organizations and institutions with digital archiving needs.
The information being maintained has been deemed to need “long term preservation”, even if the OAIS itself is not permanent. “Long term” is long enough to be concerned with the impacts of changing technologies, including support for new media and data formats, or with a changing user community. “Long term” may extend indefinitely. In this reference model there is a particular focus on digital information, both as the primary forms of information held and as supporting information for both digitally and physically archived materials. Therefore, the model accommodates information that is inherently non-digital (e.g., a physical sample), but the modelling and preservation of such information is not addressed in detail. As strictly a conceptual framework, the OAIS model does not require the use of any particular computing platform, system environment, system design paradigm, system development methodology, database management system, database design paradigm, data definition language, command language, system interface, user interface, technology, or media for an archive to be compliant. Its aim is to set the standard for the activities that are involved in preserving a digital archive rather than the method for carrying out those activities.
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