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Choose Archival Formats for Longevity, Resiliency

When managing a digital archive, prefer file formats that are likely to be usable in the future.

The usual evaluative criteria apply:

Store Metadata Inside Files

Instead of using sidecar metadata files, embed metadata directly in digital objects:


Prefer Files Over Compressed Bundles

Depending on the recovery capabilities of a compressed bundle format, a data error may render the entire bundle unreadable. If the contents were stored as individual files instead, it’s likely an equivalent data error would only affect one of the files.

  1. Edward M. Corrado and Heather Moulaison Sandy. Digital Preservation for Libraries, Archives, & Museums. 2017.