Definitions of core terms in the data archiving context

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Data archive or data library or data repository

Data archiving

  • Definition: is the process of moving data that is no longer actively used to a separate storage device for long-term retention. Archive data consists of older data that remains important to the organization or must be retained for future reference or regulatory compliance reasons. Data archives are indexed and have search capabilities, so files can be located and retrieved.... (see

Bit (level) or bitstream preservation

Bit (level) preservation processes and strategies

File format

  • Definition: A file format is a standard way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode information in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either proprietary or free and may be either unpublished or open. (see

Archive formats and archive files

Archivable file formats

  • Definition: **** (Examples in the collection domain: TXT UTF-8, ODS 1.2, XSD (XML based), SIARD (XML based), TIFF, WAV, PDF 1.7; see

Long-term archive format readability

  • Definition:

Logical (functional) preservation, (format preservation, active preservation)

Processes for functional (logical) preservation

  • Definition: Active preservation which involves ‘actively intervening in how records are stored and managed’1. It aims to ensure continued accessibility. It basically consists of three tasks: characterization of the content (format identification, validation and metadata extraction), preservation planning (technology watch, risk assessment and establishing a preservation plan) and execution of the preservation actions².

1International Records Management Trust, Preserving Electronic Records, Training in Electronic Records Management, Module 4, 2009, p. 10.
2 A. Brown, Practical Digital Preservation – A how-to guide for organizations of any size, Facet Publishing, 2013, pp. 230-238.

Archive content integrity

  • Definition: Migration of digital objects from one technology to another, whilst trying to preserve their significant properties which involves change in the configuration of the underlying data, without change in its intellectual content (in a reliability, usability and integrity way).

Archiving software

  • Definition: software or pieces of software which extract data products from software systems and preserve them in the applicable archiving formats and tools which are archiving binary objects

Research data archiving

Open Archival Information System

  • Definition: An Open Archival Information System (or OAIS) is an archive, consisting of an organization of people and systems, that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available for a Designated Community. The OAIS model can be applied to various archives, e.g., “open access, closed, restricted, “dark,” or proprietary. (see

OAIS terms

  • Definition:

Archival Information Package (AIP)

  • Definition:

Long-term data storage

  • Definition:

Data backuping

  • Definition:

Digitisation (see efforts of CETAF Digitisation Working Group, e.g.,

  • Definition:

Digital object

Archival of multimedia objects

Archival of text documents

Archival of relational databases

Preservation strategies



Back to Working Group WG4

Back to WG4 Workshop "Data storage and archiving strategies" in Sofia (NMNHS)

Back to WG4 Workshop "Towards a documentation and guideline" in Warsaw

Back to MOBILISE website

Back to WG4 Workshop: Towards publishing a "Guideline for long-term preservation and archiving of data products from scientific collections facilities", online event

Back to WG4 Workshop: Completing editorial work on the "Guideline for long-term preservation and archiving of data products from scientific collections facilities" in Munich

see also Useful links and materials