Common Specification for Information Packages

At the heart of the eArchiving specifications is the Common Specification for Information Packages, which delivers a basic core specification providing a necessary minimum for institutions across Europe to securely package their data, and then customise their data as required.

The Common Specification for Information Packages (CSIP) aims to serve three main purposes:

  1. Establish a common understanding of the requirements which need to be met in order to achieve interoperability of Information Packages;
  2. Establish a common base for the development of more specific Information Package definitions and tools within the digital preservation community;
  3. Propose the details of an XML-based implementation of the requirements using, to the largest possible extent, standards which are widely used in international digital preservation.

Ultimately the goal of the CSIP is to reach a level of interoperability between all Information Packages so that tools implementing the CSIP can be taken up by institutions without needing further modifications or adaptations. 

As an implementation specification, the CSIP defines an overall physical structure for Information Packages, detailing the position of data, metadata, and any other components within the package. Furthermore, the CSIP describes in detail the requirements in regard to metadata, most notably the interoperable use of METS and PREMIS within any Information Package. 

Please note that all requirements presented within the CSIP have been followed in the E-ARK SIP, AIP and DIP specifications. As such we recommend starting with the CSIP before proceeding with any of the others!


Used standards

  • Reference model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)  (OAIS Reference model)
  • Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS)
  • Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies (PREMIS)
  • General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679/EU (GDPR)
  • A Content Information Type specification
  • Data Entity Dictionary Specification Language (DEDSL) ‒ XML/DTD: ISO 22643:2003 (CCSDS 647.3-B-1:2002)
  • Information technology ‒ Document Schema Definition Languages (DSDL) ‒ Part 3: Rule-based validation – Schematron: ISO/IEC 19757-3:2016 (ISO standard)


We welcome all feedback in regard to the CSIP - if you have any comments or proposals, please contact us per This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or leave your comments on GitHub!

Download the Common Specification

Latest version

Common Specification v2.2.0 (May 17, 2024). PDF, HTML.


Previous versions 

Common Specification v2.1.0 (October 15, 2021)

Common Specification v2.0.4 (June 12, 2020)

Common Specification v2.0.3 (January 8, 2020)

Common Specification v2.0.2 (October 28, 2019)

Common Specification v2.0.1 (September 9, 2019)

Common Specification v2.0.0 (May 31, 2019)

Common Specification v1.0 (February 1, 2017)