[Moims-dai] Evolution of the OAIS RM

D or C Sawyer Sawyer at acm.org
Sun Feb 10 16:13:36 UTC 2019

Hi David, 

I have read your comments to my brief paper and I am, frankly, disappointed.  I was hoping that you may have abandoned your efforts to make recursion a fundamental underpinning to the OAIS conceptual model because I don’t think this helps understanding of the model nor do I think it fits with how most Archives see what they do,.  Therefore I also don’t think it is beneficial to auditors and will not be a basic framework that can underlie their thinking. I believe frameworks that Archives find productive will also be the frameworks that auditors will find useful.  Good archival practice must be practical and not based primarily on an abstraction that has not been proven to be useful.  We’ve defined RepInfo to be a recursive concept because this fits the reality of RepInfo.  I submit that most archives do not see what they do as  being based on a recursive concept. It is not enough to say that one can implement a recursive framework. It must be practical to populate and use, in my opinion. I suspect you are, at this point, in wide disagreement but please read to the end where I think I highlight the basis for our disconnect.

 Our extensive public and private discussions, together with your response to my brief paper, is consistent with your continuing effort to incorporate more recursion into OAIS as a basic conceptual framework. The strident tone of a number of your comments, such as your opening comment that my paper “suffers from a number of fundamental misunderstandings and fatal flaws” seems intended to dismiss discussion of the issues I’ve raised.  Maybe it is just that you think your views, and intent, are so clearly correct that anyone should see and agree. In good conscience, I can not.

The one factual error in my paper, which I noted in my response to Mark, is the statement that PDI is no longer applicable to non-digital Content Information. This sentence should be considered removed, but this has no impact on the points I’m making.  The simple truth, by definition, is that PDI is now only applicable to the CDO in the conceptual model and this is a very major change to the conceptual model. This is not saying anything about 16363 or what any given archive actually does.  You say that the note following the PDI definition in the revised OAIS RM is meant to clarify the definition. It does no such thing.  As I said in my paper, the note clearly says that the general concepts of provenance, fixity, etc. are applicable to the RepInfo and other information.  This is properly formatted in the note, using lower case, because the note can’t contradict the PDI definition by using upper case. Surely you see this.

You also say that the previous applicability of PDI was clearly being misunderstood by archives, so this is a clarification. I have to wonder how many archives actually were confused by PDI applicability, but I do know that some key members of this working group misunderstood it.  This is what caused the PDI to be restricted to the CDO in the revision. However once actual applicability was understood by the group, the proper response, adhering to the guidelines for updates which you attached at the end of your comments, would have been to make the clarification and not to continue with the major concept revision. This clarification could have been accomplished with a sentence of two. While there was the misunderstanding within the group about PDI applicability, one could consider the major revision to also be a clarification, but NOT once the misunderstanding was erased.  As I noted in my paper, the result is a very weakened conceptual model as PDI is now only associated with the CDO.  This is so obvious that it makes one wonder why the major concept revision has been retained, especially given the difficulties it has raised (e.g., the note, upper and lower case).

My view is that this major revision is still in the OAIS model primarily because you still want to reach a recursive basis for thinking about the conceptual model. By making the PDI only applicable to the CDO, this is a step in this direction as I explain below. My view is reinforced by your interjecting, into my brief but standard view of the OAIS functional model, the view that the OAIS can also be the Producer, by definition.  However the only place this is actually addressed in the text is when the OAIS has Content Information that needs updating and thus it submits the updated Content Information to the Ingest Function so it can get back to Archival Storage.  Perhaps you’ve forgotten the extensive email (private communication) I sent you on these points.  This is the standard view that anyone reading the whole document, and not just looking at a few definitions, comes to.  A standard view that readers come to, and that thus facilitates understandable unambiguous communication, is the basis for the development and maintenance of the OAIS RM. Instead you have argued, many times in the past, for treating the Content Information as ‘any’ information that the archive wants to ‘preserve’ (not defined). If adopted, as you’ve previously argued, you could then treat any information, such as RepInfo, PDI, etc. as Content Information and its CDO would get PDI.  Thus there would be no need to have PDI directly associated with RepInfo because the RepInfo can be viewed as Content Information and thus get its PDI this way. This has been your recursive view.  You should see that this would be a disaster for clear unambiguous communication. I believe you have become so enamored with this recursive view that you have lost sight of the clear communication objective for the conceptual model. (Again, this says nothing about 16363 or how a given archive implements its functionality.)

 As further evidence, I note that you have interjected, in two places within my paper, bullets describing general things the archive needs to do to preserve (your term) some information and then you conclude that these are, by analogy, associating PDI (actually pdi unless you take any/every digital object as being a CDO). Of course I don’t object to anyone thinking this way, and seeing some of the relationships, but it is not anywhere close to the current conceptual model as anyone would understand it. It is also not something that I think could be developed into a clear communication model and it suffers from implying that every piece of information gets the same level of attention within the archive.  I think one would have to try to develop such a model from the beginning to see if it was useful.  I believe trying to retrofit this type of thing into the OAIS RM would destroy its utility.

 I’m sure that we’ve been having such disconnect because you have this broad recursive view that you feel can be used to help auditors focus on what is needed – a kind of short hand concept way of looking at things.  I’m focused on the function of the OAIS RM for clear, unambiguous, communication and thus I stand by my paper as written, apart from that one erroneous sentence.  It seems very clear to me that one can’t retrofit your recursive view into OAIS without destroying its primary function – clear communication.  I don’t think any of us want to destroy that, and thus I hope you rethink your approach. 


> On Feb 1, 2019, at 12:00 PM, David Giaretta <david at giaretta.org> wrote:
> Hi Don
> As you will see in this marked-up document, you have made a number of fundamental errors.
> I agree with the general point that we need to keep the process under continual review. But I believe we have applied the correct procedure in this review and your concerns about the meaning of the changes is misplaced. 
> Regards
> ..David
> -----Original Message-----
> From: MOIMS-DAI <moims-dai-bounces at mailman.ccsds.org> On Behalf Of D or C Sawyer via MOIMS-DAI
> Sent: 29 January 2019 04:24
> To: MOIMS DAI List <moims-dai at mailman.ccsds.org>
> Cc: D or C Sawyer <Sawyer at acm.org>
> Subject: [Moims-dai] Evolution of the OAIS RM
> Dear All,
> I’m attaching this short paper, addressing what I see as a deficiency in the current 5-year review process, in an effort to improve the quality of the next 5-year review.
> <Evolution of the OAIS RM - with major comments from David Giaretta.docx>_______________________________________________
> MOIMS-DAI mailing list
> MOIMS-DAI at mailman.ccsds.org
> https://mailman.ccsds.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/moims-dai

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