Skip to content


Intended audience

This guide is intended for maintainers and developers of InvenioRDM itself.


The guide provides a high-level architectural overview of the bibliographic records for InvenioRDM.


The record data model is the one of the most important models in the architecture as it is used to store bibliographic metadata for the primary resources (articles, datasets, presentations, videos, ...) we host in our repositories.

Data model

The record data model is used to describe a resource. Examples of resources include journal articles, datasets, posters, videos, images, software and more. Some properties of resources:

  • A resource may exist in one or more versions.
  • A resource version has its own persistent identifiers and bibliographic metadata (e.g. title, publication date, or creator list may be different between versions).
  • All versions of a resource should be accessible and editable.

The diagram below depicts the core of the record data model.

Record entity model.

  • Parent record: An entity representing the resource and all its versions. Properties common to all versions of a resource are stored on the parent record.
  • Record (version): A record holds the metadata for a single version of a resource.
  • Draft: A draft is a temporary record used for supporting e.g. long running editing sessions that allow users to save their partial changes.
  • Record (version) revision: A record (version) revision is used to track all changes to a record version over time.
  • Version state: The version state is used to track which record and draft is the latest version.

Version vs revision

The terminology version and revision can be somewhat confusing at first. A revision represents a change to a single version of a resource (main purpose is tracking changes). A record version represents a version of a resource and is often associated with changed files and metadata.

We have added (version) above to make it clear the relationship between revision and version.

Parent record

A parent record stores all properties that are common for all record versions. This includes:

  • Access information:
    • Ownership
    • Grants
    • Secret links
  • Community relations
  • Review

Record (version)

A record stores bibliographic and administrative metadata for a single version of the resource. The record is what is accessible through search and record landing pages, and thus we also use the term that the record is published.


A draft is a temporary version of a record used to gather all related objects and save partial changes prior to being published.

There's three different types of drafts:

  • New draft: The initial draft when no record versions have been published.
  • Edit draft: A draft of a published record version (used when editing an already published record)
  • Next draft: A draft without a published record version that is not the initial draft.

These three different states are important because a new version of a record can be created at the same time as multiple older versions are being edited.

An important property of a draft is that they are temporary. Thus, they get removed when they are either published or deleted/discarded.

Record (version) revision

Every time a record is created or updated, a copy of the record is written as a record revision. The revisions are tracked per record version and only when the corresponding version draft is published. This ensures that only published changes are tracked.

Version state

The version state holds the following attributes:

  • parent record
  • latest draft
  • latest index
  • next draft

The version state is used to keep track of what is considered the latest record version. Technically the parent-record relationship is modelled as tree with unordered child nodes. This means there is no order on record versions.

One record version is designated as the latest version tracked by this state so that it's possible to show only the latest version of a record. It also keeps track of which is the latest draft/next draft if they exist.

Lastly, an integer index is incremented every time a new record version is created.

The reason that we do not define an order on record versions is because multiple different orders may be relevant. A version history may not necessarily be linear, so it can make sense to order by version number, publication date or order in which the record version was created.


A single version of a resource may have one or more files associated. The diagram below depicts how files are modelled:

Model of files for record.

  • Bucket: A record and draft each have an associated bucket. A bucket can be thought of as a folder in a directory structure. The record and draft each have their own bucket, so it's clear which files belong to a published record and which have not yet been published.
  • File record/file draft: A file record/draft exists for every logical file and stores metadata about the file. It can be both technical metadata such as file size, checksum, and/or MIME type, but it can also store metadata associated with the file such as image width/height, scientific metadata etc.
  • Object version: An object version represents an object inside a bucket, and allows for versioning of the file inside the bucket. It's a logical representation of a file.
  • File instance: A file instance represents a physical file. Multiple object versions may link to the same file instance. This enables deduplication and thereby supports optimizing disk storage usage.

Community relations

A parent record can be part of one or more communities. Being part of community means that the community has ownership of the parent record.


The relationship between communities and the parent records are defined using the following many-to-many relation:

  • Community
  • Parent record
  • Request

The request property is used to link to a request that documents how a record was added to the community. This is not meant for audit logging purposes, but as help to curators of the community.

Record versions

Record ownership is defined on the parent record and it's a parent record that's a member of a community, hence all versions of a record are owned by a community.

Multiple communities

A parent record can be owned by one or more users and/or one or more communities. This also means that everything that an uploader can do as owner, the community owners can also do with the record. E.g. a community owner could transfer/remove ownership of the record to another entity.

Default record branding

A record owned by one or more communities may optionally define with which community the record is branded with by default. This is a property on the parent record.

The property only defines the default branding when a record is part of multiple communities and in cases were we cannot automatically decide a community branding. Examples where we cannot determine a community header automatically includes:

  • A record landing page is accessed through a global search
  • A record landing page is accessed through the DOI.

Note, the default branding property is largely a property that an instance can decide or not to use during rendering of a landing page.


A new draft can have an associated review. Edit drafts and next drafts cannot have an associated review.

A review is a relation to a request. Multiple request types are supported (i.e. multiple types of reviews), but each request type must be explicitly allowed to be used as

Record states

The request itself follows the documented request states and transitions as documented under requests.

The draft goes through its own states as shown below:

Draft review state diagram

The initial draft can be one of the following states:

  • Draft: The draft is yet to be published.
  • Draft with review: The draft is yet to be submitted for review
  • In review: The draft is in review.
  • Review declined: The review was declined.
  • Review expired: The review expired by the system.
  • Published: A record has been created for the draft.