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Beitrag aus dem D-Lib Magazine:
Preservation Challenges in the Digital Age
Article by Bernadette Houghton, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
"2.6 File formats
File formats have long been considered one of the biggest risks in digital preservation. However, this has not proven to be the overwhelming danger that it was initially perceived to be (Digital Preservation Coalition, 2015). In large part, this is due to the availability of open file formats, resulting in the formats being supported by more software applications.
Proprietary file formats continue to pose a challenge, as their specifications are less likely to be openly available. Making software compatible with such formats, or converting the files themselves into a more open format can only be done with permission from the patent holder. This complicates long term preservation of such files, as the files may not be able to be migrated or normalised to a more accessible format. To keep such files accessible, the software that renders the file may also need to be preserved; which in turn brings its own set of issues.
Many files deviate in some way from their official specification (de Vorsey, 2010), so even if the specification is available, it may not necessarily be possible to convert the file to an open format. Additionally, not all file formats are suitable for long term preservation, even if they have an open specification. Some lossy and compressed file formats pose a higher risk of total loss if even a single bit is lost.
Some types of digital media have a generally agreed archival format; TIFF is the accepted format for images, for example. However, not all media types have an archival format, including videos (Library of Congress, 2015). While this issue will likely resolve over time, preserving institutions must in the meantime use their best judgement about what preservation file formats to use in such cases."
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