Wednesday, 29 August 2007

OAIS review: what's happening?

In June 2006, there was an announcement:
In compliance with ISO and CCSDS procedures, a standard must be reviewed every five years and a determination made to reaffirm, modify, or withdraw the existing standard. The “Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)” standard was approved as CCSDS 650.0-B-1 in January 2002 and was approved as ISO standard 14721 in 2003. While the standard can be reaffirmed given its wide usage, it may also be appropriate to begin a revision process. Our view is that any revision must remain backward compatible with regard to major terminology and concepts. Further, we do not plan to expand the general level of detail. A particular interest is to reduce ambiguities and to fill in any missing or weak concepts. To this end, a comment period has been established.
Comments were required by 30 October 2006. The Digital Preservation Coalition and the Digital Curation Centre ran a joint workshop on 13 October in Edinburgh, and as a result submitted joint comments. Some of these comments were minor but some were quite significant. There are 14 general recommendations, and many detailed updates and clarifications were suggested.

Supporters of OAIS (and I am one) often make a great play about how open their process was. In that spirit, I have tried to find out what is happening, and to take part. I understood there was to be an open process, with a wiki and telecons, to decide in the first place whether the standard needs revision, and if so to revise it. Despite numerous attempts, I cannot find out what the current state is, or where or how this is taking place. Does anyone know?

This is a very important standard, and it needs revision to make it more useful in today's environment. We need to make it as good as we can.


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