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Various remote sensing agencies of the world have created a data rich environment for research and applications over the last three decades. Especially over the last decade, the volume and variety of data useful for Earth system science have increased quite rapidly. One of the key purposes of collecting these data and generating useful digital products containing derived geophysical parameters is to study the long-term trends in the Earth's behavior. Long-term observational data and derived products are essential for validating results from models that predict the future behavior of the Earth system. Given the significant resources expended in gathering the observational data and developing the derived products, it is important to preserve them for the benefit of future generations of users. Preservation involves maintaining the bits with no loss (or loss within scientifically acceptable bounds) as they move across systems as well as over time, ensuring readability over time, and providing for long-term understandability and repeatability of previously obtained results. In order to ensure long-term understandability and repeatability, it is necessary to identify all items of content that must be preserved and plan for such preservation. This paper discusses the need for a standard enumerating and describing such content items and reports on the progress made by NASA and the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) in the U.S. towards such a standard.