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It is necessary to distinguish between an Information Package that is preserved by an OAIS and the Information Packages that are submitted to, or disseminated from, an OAIS. These variant packages are needed to reflect the reality that some submissions to an OAIS will have insufficient Representation Information or PDI to meet OAIS preservation requirements. In addition, these may be organized very differently from the way the OAIS organizes the information it is preserving. Finally, the OAIS may provide to Consumers information that does not include all the Representation Information or all the PDI with the associated Content Information being disseminated. These variants are referred to as the Submission Information Package (SIP), the Archival Information Package (AIP), and the Dissemination Information Package (DIP).

The Submission Information Package (SIP) is that package that is sent to an OAIS by a Producer. Its form and detailed content are typically negotiated between the Producer and the OAIS (see related standards in 1.5). Most SIPs will have some Content Information and some PDI.

The relationships between SIPs and AIPs can be complex; as well as a simple one-to-one relationship in which one SIP produces one AIP, other possibilities include: one AIP being produced from multiple SIPs produced at different times by one Producer or by many Producers; one SIP resulting in a number of AIPs; and many SIPs from one or more sources being unbundled and recombined in different ways to produce many AIPs. Even in the first case, the OAIS may have to perform a number of transformations on the SIP. The Packaging Information will always be present in some form.

Within the OAIS one or more SIPs are transformed into one or more Archival Information Packages (AIPs) for preservation. The AIP has a complete set of PDI for the associated Content Information. The AIP may also contain a collection of other AIPs, and this is discussed and modeled in section 4. The Packaging Information of the AIP will conform to OAIS internal standards, and it may vary as it is managed by the OAIS.

In response to a request, the OAIS provides all or a part of an AIP to a Consumer in the form of a Dissemination Information Package (DIP). The DIP may also include collections of AIPs, and it may or may not have complete PDI. The Packaging Information will necessarily be present in some form so that the Consumer can clearly distinguish the information that was requested. Depending on the dissemination media and Consumer requirements, the Packaging Information may take various forms.

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