File Format Assessment Factors

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File Formats Assessments > File Format Assessment Factors

Format Assessment Factors


The following sustainability factors are covered in each assessment:

  • Development Status

An overview of the history, ownership, and current status of the file format.

  • Adoption and Usage

An impression of how widely the file format is used, with reference to usage in other memory institutions and their practical experiences of working with the format.

  • Software Support

Rendering Software Support - an overall impression of software support for rendering the format with reference to a) typical desktop software and b) current support on PCs; Preservation Software Support - an impression of the availability and effectiveness of software for managing and preserving instances of the file format, including a) Format Identification, b) Validation and Detecting Preservation Risks, c) Conformance Checking, d) Metadata Extraction, and e) Migration.

  • Documentation and Guidance

An indication of the availability of practical documentation or guidance with specific reference to the facilitation of any recommended actions

  • Complexity

An impression of the complexity of the format with respect to the impact this is likely to have on the organisation managing or working with content in this format. What level of expertise in the format is required to have confidence in management and preservation?

  • Embedded or Attached Content

The potential for embedding or attaching files of similar or different formats, and the likely implications of this.

  • External Dependencies

An indication of the possibility of content external to an instance of the file format that is complimentary or even essential to the intellectual content of the instance.

  • Legal Issues

Legal impediments to the use, management or preservation of instances of the file format.

  • Technical Protection Mechanisms

Encryption, Digital Rights Management and any other technical mechanisms that might restrict usage, management or preservation of instances of the file format.

  • Other Preservation Risks

Other evidence based preservation risks, noting that many known preservation risks are format specific and do not easily fit under any of the sustainability categories above.