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  Preservation Procedure Policy: Reference Model
Related Guidance Policy
Definition/ Description A reference model can be defined as:
 “A framework for understanding significant relationships among the entities of some environment, and for the development of consistent standards or specifications supporting that environment. A reference model is based on a small number of unifying concepts and may be used as a basis for education and explaining standards to a non-specialist.”  (Source: OAIS standard)
The choice for a reference model for digital preservation is a fundamental one and will affect all the processes and procedures. The choices of various other standards is reflected in element 11.3 Use of specific standards
Why When there is a commonly used standard in a particular domain, that is continuously being updated, it will benefit the organisation to adhere to this standard (both in costs, approaches, understandability, related training etc.) and be compliant with this standard reference model.
The use of a standard reference model is a fundamental choice for a digital repository and should be included in the policy, as it guides various other aspects. The  OAIS model, Open Archival Information System ISO 14721:2012 is generally seen as the  standard reference model in digital preservation.
Risks Without standardisation the organisation might neglect important elements or not follow common principles. This might lead an isolated position for the organization ands can be very expensive and risky.
Life cycle stage Curate and Preserve
Stakeholder Management:  the choice for a reference model will guide many of the activities in relation to Digital Preservation
Operational Management, Technical Management and System Architect:  need to implement the reference model
Collection Management (non SHAMAN): support management from point of view related to the content to preserve
Cross Reference Bit Preservation
Functional Preservation
Examples USCL : “USC Libraries, with support from the University Technology Services, avows that the digital preservation program will:
• comply with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model standard in the development of the digital preservation program where possible, such as with the MetaArchive Cooperative” Source:,
Control Policy This section is defining the approach to the creation and maintenance of the overall infrastructure and as such may not have control policies as control policies are concerned with the content and/or user community.
Questions to foster discussions
  • Does your organisation take a reference model as starting point for digital preservation?
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