ISO/IEC 23000-6:2009 specifes the professional archival application format (PA-AF). The purpose of the PA-AF is to provide a standardized packaging format for digital files. This packaging format can also serve as an implementation of the information package specified by the reference model of the open archival information system (OAIS). The OAIS reference model is a framework for understanding and applying concepts necessary for long-term digital information preservation (where “long-term” is long enough to be concerned about changing technologies). In addition, PA-AF can also be used as an intermediate or exchange packaging format for any kind of multimedia content.
While a general archival process may include processes starting from creation, to delivery to archival system, and dissemination to consumers, PA-AF is limited in scope as follows. PA-AF does not specify how input content is created. PA-AF does not specify any agreement of how the content should be handled and delivered to the archiving process. PA-AF assumes that input content for the archiving process is available in an appropriate digital format. PA-AF specifies the format of a digital archive produced by the archival process. PA-AF does not specify how the archive output by the archival process is disseminated to end-users.
PA-AF specifies a metadata format to describe the original structure of digital files archived in a PA-AF file. PA-AF specifies a metadata format to describe context information related to a PA-AF file and digital files archived in it. PA-AF specifies a metadata format to describe necessary information to reverse the pre-processing processes applied to digital files prior to archiving them in a PA-AF file. PA-AF specifies a file format for carriage of the metadata formats and digital files.