The SNIA Long Term Retention working group has been working hard to develop a Self-Contained Information Retrieval Format (SIRF). The SIRF standard provides a logical container for a set of digital preservation objects and a catalog of those objects. Digital preservation objects can be any sort of digital file or content. The catalog contains information (metadata) related to the entire contents of the container as well as to individual objects. SIRF standardizes the information in the catalog for the object containers. A valuable feature of this proto-standard is that objects that are related to each other are kept in a single logical container and SIRF compliant future applications would be able to read older content even if the original application program no longer existed.
See Also: Long-term Preservation of Digital Information (via Storage Networking Industry Association (SINA))
By Mary Baker, HP Labs
Roger Cummings, Symantec Research Labs