In 1996 the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information declared, ‘a critical component of digital archiving infrastructure is the existence of a sufficient number of trusted organizations capable of storing, migrating, and providing access to digital collections’. The task force saw that ‘trusted’ or trustworthy organizations could not simply identify themselves. To the contrary, the task force declared, ‘a process of certification for digital archives is needed to create an overall climate of trust about the prospects of preserving digital information’.

The Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model, first published in 2002 and updated in 2012, (ISO 14721:2012) created a consensus on ‘what is required for an archive to provide permanent or indefinite long-term preservation of digital information’. OAIS provides fundamental concepts regarding the long-term preservation of digital materials that cut across domain-specific implementations and a common terminology. It also provided a roadmap for further standards, including one needed for certification of repositories.

The initial draft about certification was published as TRAC in 2007, but, after several years of improvements to greatly improve its suitability for auditing, this has been superseded by ISO 16363, which provides tells auditors what needs to be inspected and ISO 16919 which specifies the competencies of the audit team. ISO 16919 is vital to enable an audit process which is performed with impartiality, competence, responsibility, openness, confidentiality and responsiveness to complaints, supported by the international ISO process.


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