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PRONOM is more than just a database of technical information. It is intended to encompass a range of tools, and services to support digital preservation functions such as preservation risk assessment, migration pathway planning, object identification and validation, and metadata extraction.

The future of PRONOM

Find out more about our plans to make PRONOM's data available in a linked open data format on The National Archives Labs.

A proposal is underway to bring together two registry efforts, PRONOM and the Global Digital Format Registry Project (see below). The new agreement will support the requirements of a larger digital preservation community, creating a Unified Digital Formats Registry (UDFR). For further information, read the proposal for a UDFR.

Tools

Droid: Digital Record Object Identification

DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) is a software tool developed by The National Archives to perform automated batch identification of file formats. It is the first in a planned series of tools developed by The National Archives under the umbrella of its PRONOM technical registry service.

DROID is a platform-independent Java tool, which is freely available to download under an open source license. You can download the latest version of DROID for free.

Services

PRONOM Unique Identifiers

The PRONOM Unique Identifier (PUID) is an extensible scheme for providing persistent, unique and unambiguous identifiers for records in the PRONOM registry. In the first instance, PUIDs are being assigned to file formats, with over 130 of the most common formats already assigned identifiers, and more being added on a regular basis.

Further information about the PUID scheme is available here.

External Projects

A number of other international projects are currently exploring the development of registries of technical information to support digital preservation, together with relevant tools and services. These include:

JHOVE
This Java tool has been developed by Harvard University to allow the automatic identification, validation and characterisation of a range of digital object types. It is freely available under the GNU Lesser General Public License, and the beta pre-release version is currently available to download.

National Library of New Zealand Metadata Extractor
The NLNZ has developed a Java-based tool to extract preservation metadata from within digital objects, and save it in XML format. The tool is freely available to download.

Digital Formats for Library of Congress Collections
This Library of Congress website is collecting technical information about file formats relevant to the Library's digital collections, in order to inform preservation decisions. It also includes an overview of factors which may affect the sustainability of formats over the long-term.

COPTR
COPTR describes tools useful for preserving digital information for the long term. It is also an initiative to collate the knowledge of the digital preservation community on preservation tools in one place.
COPTR aims to meet the following simple aims:

- Help users find preservation tools that meet their long term digital preservation needs.
- Avoid reinventing the wheel by sharing knowledge about existing tools and their effectiveness rather than starting again from scratch and creating new tools.

COPTR is hosted by the The Open Planets Foundation (OPF) and is an editable wiki, so any interested party is free to contribute new resources.

PANIC
The PANIC project, at the University of Queensland's Distributed Systems Technology Centre, is developing a semi-automated preservation service for scientific data, which will allow monitoring of archival collections, support decision making about preservation actions, and then invoke the appropriate preservation service (such as a format conversion service), using the semantic web and web services.

Digital Curation Centre
This JISC-funded consortium has recently been established to support UK institutions, particularly within the higher- and further-education sectors, in storing, managing and preserving digital data of long-term value. As part of this work, it is investigating the issue of file format registries.

Please note that The National Archives is not responsible for the content of any external links.

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