Science Archives in the 21st Century
Topic: Emerging archival standards and technologies
The National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) has been participating in the development of standards applicable to the role of digital archives within the space science community, and beyond, for the better part of 2 decades. Some of these standards have been, or are being, developed through processes that are essentially ad hoc, although somewhat international in scope, such as the Space Physics Archive, Search, and Exchange (SPASE) data model. Some standards have been, or are being, developed through codified local processes that are also international in scope, such as the Flexible Image Transport Standard (FITS). A third category, which is the main subject of this overview, includes those standards that have been, or are being, developed by a codified process that is recognized by an international standards setting organization such as the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) and the Organization for International Standardization (ISO). The first two categories have typically been used by specific space science sub-disciplines, while the latter category is intended to be applicable not only across space science, but across many other disciplines as well.
This presentation will touch on five standards that have either become ISO standards, or are in development to become ISO standards. These are the 'Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)' that provides conceptual model for archival system, the 'Producer-Archive Interface Methodology Abstract Standard (PAIMAS)' that provides a methodology for the interaction between data providers and the OAIS archive, the 'XML Formatted Data Unit (XFDU)' standard that provides a general packaging mechanism for the exchange of data and metadata, the 'Producer-Archive Interface Standard (PAIS) that addresses a formal description of data and its packaging into a Submission Information Package (SIP) to facilitate checking and validation upon receipt by the archive, and the 'Repository, Audit and Certification' standard that is expected to support self and third party certification of archives. The presentation will address their potential roles within an archival context, their status, the extent to which they have been adopted, and for those still in development, a brief discussion of issues to be resolved.