As in most rapidly changing fields, the terminology of digital preservation is fluid, with some terms having multiple meanings and others evolving over time. There are online glossaries that offer general definitions of digital preservation terminology. Because this tutorial is structured around two foundation documents—the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) and Attributes of a Trusted Digital Repository (TDR)—we present here definitions of key terms that are critical to understanding that context. These foundation documents arose from very different communities and sometimes use different terms to describe the same concept. Any such divergences will be indicated.

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Since the final versions of TDR and OAIS were released in 2002, the digital preservation community has produced a number of documents that have contributed to the definition and evolution of core terms and concepts, including: the Producer-Archive Interface Methodology Abstract Standard (PAIMAS), Trusted Repositories Audit & Certification (TRAC), PREservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies (PREMIS), and the Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. We've included these publications in a list of additional readings with top recommended resources and more food for thought.