The digital preservation team carries out systematic research into new types of electronic record, and develops new processes for migrating digital information from one data format to another. The core aim of this research is to support our services and so ensure that future generations can continue to access and use electronic records.

We are currently involved with research projects and working groups in collaboration with other organisations both nationally and internationally as part of The National Archives' wider research agenda. We highly value our work with other members of the digital preservation community and we welcome future opportunities for collaboration particularly in the fields of:

  • file format research
  • forensic computing in digital preservation
  • bit-preservation

Please get in touch with the team at:

Collaboration with Georgia Tech Research Institute and NARA - file format signatures

We have recently begun working with Georgia Tech Research Institute, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the United States, in the area of file format research and identification. Following a successful collaboration with both organisations, we have been able to add a significant amount of file format signature information to the PRONOM technical registry service. This information was a direct result of the work carried out by Georgia Tech Research Institute on a collection of digital records from NARA, and was generously shared with us for incorporation into PRONOM. We hope to continue to develop our relationship with both institutions and incorporate their results into PRONOM, making it available for others.

Working with industry

We are working closely with several international bodies to bring together PRONOM and the Global Digital Format Registry Project.  This will support the requirements of a larger digital preservation community, creating a Unified Digital Formats Registry (UDFR).

Planets - Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services

PLANETS (Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services) was a four-year project co-funded by the European Union, to address core digital preservation challenges. Completed in May 2010, the main aim of the project was to develop practical services and tools to help ensure long-term access to digital cultural and scientific assets.

The project drew on the expertise of 16 partners from national libraries, archives, leading research universities and technology companies across Europe. The National Archives who led the characterisation work.

InSPECT - Investigating the significant properties of electronic records over time

The National Archives worked with the Arts & Humanities Data Service on the JISC funded InSPECT project, which investigated the significant properties of digital records that needed preserving for the future.