September 30, 2016

The Library of Congress Recommends Preservation Formats

formatThe Library of Congress has now made specific recommendations on the best file formats for preserving access to content of various types:

  • Textual works and musical compositions
  • Still images
  • Audio
  • Moving images
  • Software, electronic games, and learning modules
  • Datasets and databases

They take pains to explain that these recommendations are not meant to replace their pre-existing “Best Edition” of Published Copyright Works document, AKA “Best Edition Statement”, but rather builds upon and complements that work.

Anyone active with information preservation will probably not find these recommendations surprising, but it is useful to have these recommendations succinctly described and categorized. For each main category of information type they offer “Preferred” and (for some) “Acceptable” formats.

These guidelines should be even more useful for those who aren’t familiar with digital preservation requirements but are interested in adhering to best practices in the field.


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On October 14, 2015 Library Journal, School Library Journal, and thousands of library professionals from around the world gathered for the 6th annual Digital Shift virtual conference to focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital transition’s impact on libraries, their communities, and partners. Now available on-demand, this year’s program provides actionable answers to some of the biggest questions our profession faces for and from libraries of all types – school, academic, and public and features thought-provoking keynotes from John Palfrey, author of BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, and Denise Jacobs, tech leader, author, and creativity evangelist.
Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.