ERC preservation aspects in the light of OAIS

The Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model is a framework for the preservation and dissimination of digital objects (assets). It has been created by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) and has since been adopted by a wide range of international institutions. The OAIS provides the terminology and concept of the information package as primitive of the digital preservation workflow. Submission information packages (SIP), Dissimination information packages (DIP) and Archival information packages (AIP) refer to different functional roles and stages of a digital object within long term preservation.

Interpretability of the archived software

The representation information object within OAIS consists of structural and semantic information and is itself linked to other units of representation information, building a representation network. The information contained within the ERC and its metadata serves as representation information and enables the interpretability of the archived software, environment, code, data, text and UI bindings. Standards used for representation are included as local copy of the underlying schema and as reference to their persistent identifiers. The network of information objects describes how the parts of the ERC relate to each other and how they are to be used and understood.

By providing a package slip for the schemas and standards used in the ERC a vital step for the preservation of software interpretability is completed. As the ERC is designed to transport every information necessary to recreate the original piece of software as represented by a scientific workspace to serve as supplement for a publication or as a repository publication itself, there is often several metadata standards involved. The long term interpretability of these information is ensured by including the metadata and their governing schemas on a second order meta level.

The described concept of interpretability adds significant scientific value as it enables reproducibility and a future historical perspective on the scientific analysis of today.

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