DUBLIN, Ohio, June 11, 2002—The Working Group on Preservation Metadata, an initiative jointly sponsored by OCLC and RLG, has released A Metadata Framework to Support the Preservation of Digital Objects (PDF:696K/54pp.), a new report available on the OCLC web site.
The report is a comprehensive guide to preservation metadata that is applicable to a broad range of digital preservation activities. Preservation metadata is the information infrastructure necessary to support processes associated with the long-term retention of digital resources, and is an essential component of most digital preservation systems.
The report represents the consensus of leading experts and practitioners comprising the working group, and is intended for use by organizations and institutions managing, or planning to manage, the long-term retention of digital resources.
The working group based its work on preservation metadata element sets developed by several leading institutions and organizations in the digital preservation community, as well as the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model. OAIS is a conceptual framework that articulates the primary functional components of a digital archive and establishes concepts and terminology for describing and comparing architectures and data models.
The report follows on the working group's earlier white paper Digital Objects: A Review of the State of the Art (PDF:191K/50pp.), which defined and discussed the concept of preservation metadata, reviewed current thinking and practice in the use of preservation metadata, and identified starting points for consensus-building activity in this area.
"The working group's report illustrates the value of cooperatively resolving the challenges of digital preservation," said Brian Lavoie, research scientist in the OCLC Office of Research. "The most effective solutions for the long-term retention of digital resources are likely to emerge from collaboration within the digital preservation community, pooling the expertise of researchers and practitioners from a variety of institutional and geographical backgrounds. Taken together, these consensus-building efforts will establish the necessary infrastructure, in the form of standards and best practices, to support digital preservation activity."
"For institutions creating and preserving digital objects, this new OCLC/RLG report is a good resource for both preservation metadata and its relationship to the OAIS reference model," said Robin Dale, RLG program officer. "It broadens the digital preservation toolset we've been building, which includes such aids as the RLG/OCLC report on the attributes of trusted digital repositories and RLG's OAIS practitioners' Web page."
"The work of the OCLC/RLG Working Group on Preservation Metadata has been an extremely important effort as libraries and related cultural institutions begin to tackle issues concerning digital preservation," said Rebecca S. Guenther, senior networking and standards specialist, Library of Congress, and working group member. "The working group document takes the OAIS information model closer to the goal of actually implementing archival information systems that document preservation requirements and processes and is particularly relevant to the needs of libraries. This document is an important contribution to the development of preservation metadata standards in information technology, an area where much additional work is needed."
The Working Group on Preservation Metadata is part of a cooperative effort between OCLC and RLG to support consensus-building activity in the development of key infrastructure for digital preservation.
Headquartered in Mountain View, California, RLG is a not-for-profit membership corporation of over 160 universities, national libraries, archives, historical societies, and other institutions with remarkable collections for research and learning. In addition to a range of collaborative activities that address members' shared goals for these collections, RLG develops and operates databases and software to serve the information needs of member and nonmember institutions and individuals around the world.