Minnesota  State Archives

Center for Archival Resources On Legislatures (CAROL)

Foundations: Format Registries


To assist with determining the appropriate format, you can use format registries to learn about the properties and sustainability of formats.

Specific properties of formats include name/s, description, classification, identifier, related formats, formal specification, documentation, and other details. Sustainability factors, as defined on the Library of Congress Sustainability of Digital Formats webpage include adoption, disclosure, self-documentation, external dependencies, and technical protection mechanisms.

Remember to take into account both the quality and functionality factors of both the properties and sustainability factors and how they fit into your particular environment.



PRONOM: "PRONOM is an on-line information system about data file formats and their supporting software products. Originally developed to support the accession and long-term preservation of electronic records held by the National Archives, PRONOM is now being made available as a resource for anyone requiring access to this type of information."

Sustainability of Digital Formats (Planning for Library of Congress Collections): This web site provides information about digital content formats in order to support the analysis of formats to assist with strategic planning surrounding long-term preservation of digital content.

Unified Digital Formats Registry (UDFR): Developed in 2009, UDFR combines PRONOM and Global Digital Format Registry (GDFR) creating a single format registry. As of December 2011, work on the technical aspects of combining the two registries is still being conducted by the University of California Curation Center (UC3). Until this work is completed, PRONOM should be consulted for file format information. (NOTE: If the UDFR's website is under construction, GDFR's website provides some background information on UDFR.)

Conversion Software Registry (CSR): The Conversion Software Registry (CSR) has been designed to collect information about software packages that are capable of file format conversions. This can help identify if tools exist to convert any out-of-date files you may have to a more appropriate format.


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February 15, 2012; links verified March 29, 2013.

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