Some call Ingest by the library term acquisition or the archival term accession. Others think of it as file transfer. But the functions grouped by the OAIS model under the name Ingest involve more than file transfer and include rigorous error-checking.

Ingest relies upon rules established on the organizational side to determine the metadata that must be present, the formats that are acceptable, the means that may be used for transferring objects, and the quality checks that must be performed. It is an organizational responsibility to ensure that the successful ingest of objects can be verified, but it is a technological responsibility to identify and develop the means to do so.

0101 Only after the Administration has negotiated a submission agreement does the transfer of objects actually begin. The ingest functions must be able to determine that the files and their metadata are complete and correct as sent. Next the metadata must be generated to tie the objects into the structure of the archive by generating the Archival Information Package (AIP). Any text that will be used for searching or for display must also be created and associated with the objects—the Descriptive Information—and sent to Data Management. After all the complex objects are created, they are moved to Archival Storage. When changes are made to the objects in the future, the metadata-generating functions will be used again to update the AIPs.

$$$$ Ingest entails organizational costs (e.g., policy development, transfer protocols, producer-archive agreements, curatorial management) and technological costs (e.g., SIP processing, AIP generation, quality control). Organizations may reduce costs by adapting tools and developments from appropriate groups of institutions.


  1. Identify the steps your institution takes in acquiring digital content.
  2. Indicate which steps are automated, semi-automated, or manual.