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Date added 6 November 2006
Last edited 12 November 2009

Full Title

ISO 14721: Space Data and Information Transfer Systems - Open Archival Information System - Reference Model


The OAIS Reference Model defines the processes required for effective long-term preservation and access to information objects, while establishing a common language to describe these. It does not specify an implementation, but provides the framework to make a successful implementation possible, through describing the basic functionality required for a preservation archive. OAIS identifies mandatory responsibilities and interactions of producers, consumers and managers of both paper and digital records. It provides a standardised method to describe repository functionality by providing detailed models of archival information and archival functions.

Using the OAIS Reference Model, as a template for information preservation, demonstrates a long-term commitment to ensuring that relevant workflows and architectures are in place for information to remain available to those who need to use it (the Designated Community).

Standards Developing Organisations



No information available.

Lifecycle Action

Whole Lifecycle

Standard Frameworks

Digital Archive Standards
Electronic Records Management Standards

Standard Type

Reference Models and Frameworks

Current Version

Further Information

Alternative Current Version

January 2002 - Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) [external PDF]
This CSSDS Blue Book contains the same text as ISO 14721: 2003 and is freely available.

Previous Versions


Referenced Standards

IEEE Storage System Standards Working Group. Reference Model for Open Storage Systems Interconnection, September 1994
ISO 12175:1994, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems - Standard Formatted Data Units - Structure and Construction Rules
ISO 15889:2003, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems -- Data Description Language - EAST Specification
ISO 21961:2003, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems - Data Entity Dictionary Specification Language (DEDSL) - Abstract Syntax
ISO 21962:2003, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems - Data Entity Dictionary Specification Language (DEDSL) - PVL Syntax
ISO 9660:1988, Information Processing -Volume and File Structure of CD-ROM for Information Interchange
Unified Modeling Language. Version 1.1