Long Term Retention

SNIA’s Long Term Retention technical working group developed a SNIA standard for a logical container format called the Self-contained Information Retention Format (SIRF).  This new standard enables long-term hard disk, cloud, and tape-based containers a way to effectively and efficiently preserve and secure digital information for many decades, even with the ever-changing technology landscape.

The SNIA Self-contained Information Retention Format (SIRF) standard addresses the technical challenges of long-term digital information retention & preservation for both physical and logical preservation.

SIRF is a storage container of digital preservation objects that provides a catalog with metadata related to the entire contents of the container, individual objects, and their relationships. This standardized metadata help interpret the preservation objects in the future

Value to the Industry:

  • SIRF serialization for adapted industry technologies is provided in the specification.
  • SIRF serialization for the cloud is supported using OpenStack Swift object storage and SIRF serialization for tapes is supported using the LTFS ISO standard.
  • SIRF is media agnostic, vendor agnostic, extensible, self-described and self contained and plays a key role in the preservation and retention of critical data, and because it is interpretable by future data preservation systems, it has the benefit of greatly reducing the associated costs of digital preservation.

More information about the SIRF standard

The SIRF draft is currently available for public review draft here: http://www.snia.org/tech_activities/publicreview

OpenSIRF is an open source implementation of the SIRF format and it is available under the MIT license. OpenSIRF can be found here: https://github.com/opensirf

Aspects of SIRF serialization for the cloud are being experimented with OpenStack Swift object storage and the stored data is designed to be understandable and does not need specialized software to interpret it.

  • SIRF is interpretable by future data preservation systems, thus reducing the associated costs of digital preservation.
  • SIRF plays a key role in the preservation and retention of important data.
  • Typical use cases for SIRF would be the preservation of data attached to medical records, libraries and in the Movie/Film industry.

SIRF technical documents released in SNIA public review site and we encourage everyone to review and comment on the current draft v1.0 that is now available for review.

To join the group, please go to the LTR TWG page and click the "Add Member" link.

SIRF Scientific papers:

  • Simona Rabinovici-Cohen, Roger Cummings and Sam Fineberg, "Self-contained Information Retention Format For Future Semantic Interoperability", Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Semantic Digital Archives (SDA), September 2014, London, UK
  • Simona Rabinovici-Cohen, Mary G. Baker, Roger Cummings, Sam Fineberg, and John Marberg, "Towards SIRF: Self-contained Information Retention Format”, Proceedings of the Annual International Systems and Storage Conference (SYSTOR), May 30-June 1, 2011, Haifa, Israel

Selected LTR public presentations:

References for Long-Term Retention & Preservation:

Liaison Organizations with LTR TWG: