The Archiving and Interchange Tag Set defines elements and attributes that describe the content and metadata of journal articles, including research and non-research articles, letters, editorials, and book and product reviews. The Tag Set allows for descriptions of the full article content or just the article header metadata.

The intent of the Archiving Tag Set is to preserve the intellectual content of journals independent of the form in which that content was originally delivered. This Tag Set enables an archive to capture structural and semantic components of existing material without modeling any particular sequence or textual format.

It was planned that Archiving could be used for conversion from a variety of journal source Tag Sets, with the intent of providing a single format:

  • in which publishers can deliver their content to a wide range of archives, and
  • into which archives can conveniently translate content from many publishers.

In order to enable description of the content used by the wide array of publishers, repositories, aggregators, etc., the Tag Set uses many loose structures, including some elements with nearly all content structures optional. Many attribute values in the Tag Set are data character values, accommodating any source values. Because some article components are prescriptive in nature, article metadata for example, the Archiving Tag Set includes a few completely generic structures for capturing semantic tagging that is not available natively in the Tag Suite. Although publication order cannot always be preserved, particularly within the metadata, the Archiving Tag Set works harder than any of the other NISO JATS Tag Sets in this Suite to allow almost any publication arrangement and to allow retagging as renaming without rearrangement during conversion.

The Archiving Tag Set has a distinct focus on conversion from multiple sources. That focus has made this Tag Set a large and inclusive one. Many elements have been created explicitly so that information tagged by publishers would not be discarded when they converted material from another Tag Set to this one (or one created from this Suite). Care has also been taken to provide several mechanisms (frequently, information classing attributes) to preserve the intellectual content of a document structure when that structure is converted from another Tag Set or schema to this one, even when there is no exact element equivalent of the structure.

The exact replication of the look and feel of any particular journal has not been a consideration. Therefore, many purely formatting mechanisms have not been included. At the same time, Archiving is intended to preserve observed content, without resorting to stylesheets or generation of textual elements. For that reason, labels, numbers, and symbols of tables, figures, sidebars, and the like can be recorded as elements, as can the punctuation and spaces inside bibliographic references and lists.