Putting the "U" in Unified Digital Format Registry: Stakeholders meet at the Library of Congress

The following post comes from our colleague, Kevin Devorsey, of the Modern Records Program at the National Archives.

On April 13-14, Fynnette Eaton (Applied Research) and I participated in a stakeholders meeting of the Unified Digital Format Registry (UDFR), held at the Library of Congress, along with 22 cultural memory institutions concerned with digital preservation.  UDFR aims to pool the expertise of these archival communities to document characteristics that can be used to identify file formats, and then to document the information in an authoritative knowledge base.

NARA has supported efforts to properly identify file formats with Applied Research partner, Dr. Bill Underwood at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).  Go back to our Dec. 7, 2010 Tech Tuesday blog post, where we described a successful partnership between NARA, GTRI, and The National Archives (TNA) of the United Kingdom to expand TNA’s PRONOM registry in support of digital preservation.  PRONOM is viewed as the current best source for identifying computer file formats by the archival community.

Attendees at the UDFR meeting, Library of Congress April 13-14. Photo by Kevin Devorsey, NARA
Attendees at the UDFR meeting, Library of Congress April 13-14. Photo by Kevin Devorsey, NARA

Participants at the stakeholder meeting included representatives from international, national, state, academic, and private sectors, such as the National Library of New Zealand, the Knoikliijke Bibliotheek (The Hague), the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Government Printing Office, and NARA (with GTRI).

Among the objectives of the UDFR meeting were to seek discussion and agreement from a diverse group of constituents for:

  • The UDFR’s functional and non-functional requirements;
  • The data modeling process and ontology to be used;
  • The architecture that will be implemented;
  • The project plan; and
  • A long-term governance and continuity plan that will ensure its continued relevance.

While not all of the questions were answered in this meeting, it was very successful.  Documentation from the meeting will be posted to the UDFR site soon, so be sure to check there for more specific information: http://www.udfr.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page.

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