National Archives Contributes to Improved Digital Records Preservation and Access System

The old cliché – there is no “I” in team – might make you roll your eyes, but there is a reason it became a cliché.  It became a cliché because it’s true, a great team is more than the sum of its parts and a dedicated group of people can accomplish more than a single genius.

On Monday, 12/6, The National Archives (TNA) of the United Kingdom and NARA tweeted about the development and release of a significantly expanded PRONOM registry, which supports digital preservation. The announcement highlights the successful partnership between TNA and NARA’s Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies (NCAST) research partners, at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Army Research Lab.   Read NARA’s press release.

So, what’s in it for you?

PRONOM is an online tool that was launched by TNA in 2004 as a free public service, and is a first step in long-term strategies for preserving important electronic records – records that might be at risk of becoming obsolete.  The PRONOM registry uses DROID, which is a file format identification tool that identifies files by their file extension and internal signatures (for example .doc for document files).

GTRI contributed to the improvement of DROID through their advanced research on File Type Identification – which increased the number of entries into the PRONOM/DROID database by about 25% — with more expected over the next year.

NCAST Director, Kenneth Thibodeau, commented “In PRONOM/DROID, The National Archives of the U.K. has responded to an essential need for preserving and providing sustained access to valuable digital information.  We are happy to be able to contribute to enhancing a tool that we use in NARA’s Electronic Records Archives system.  This helps us and also benefits anyone who needs to preserve digital assets.”

And this team isn’t done working yet.  Read the press release, try out the PRONOM tool yourself, and stay tuned for more exciting developments by this team for its next release in 2011.

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