The E-ARK Archival Information Package (AIP) specification describes the pan-European standard for packaging data and metadata for long-term storage. The specification is built on and reuses fully the Common Specification for Information Packages but extends it with aspects relevant in long-term storage. More explicitly the AIP specification defines straightforward possibilities for extending the initial set of data and metadata with information which is created by preservation procedures, like additional representations of the data, and metadata about these preservation procedures. At the same time the specification provides methods which allow long-term archives to protect the integrity and authenticity of the package throughout these procedures.
As such the key objectives of this document are:
- To define a generic structure of the AIP format in a way that it is suitable for a wide variety of data types, such as document and image collections, archival records, databases or geographical data
- To recommend a set of metadata related to the structural and the preservation aspects of the AIP as implemented by the reference implementation (earkweb)
- To ensure the format is also suitable to store large quantities of data.