understand the OAIS Reference Model to be a collection of all the functions
that take place in the ideal, full-service archive. The group that conceived
the model identified approximately thirty functions: negotiating the
agreement between a depositor and the archive; various kinds of compliance
and error checking; generating reports; billing; managing, storing, and
retrieving data; and many more. Some of the functions are purely technical,
such as replacing storage media, but just as many are knowledge processes:
monitoring the needs of the user community, planning preservation strategies,
managing the system configuration, establishing archive policies, among
others. The OAIS document's "Composite of Functional Entities"
diagram lays all of these functions out in a data-flow diagram that can
confuse an experienced archivist (see Fig. 1); looking at this diagram we
wondered where we going to find a place to start unraveling this complexity
to find a place to start building our archive. We knew we could not “eat the elephant” in
a single bite (byte?), but instead we’d have to divide it up in relatively
small, easily consumable pieces.