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The role of format in digital preservation

Stephen L. Abrams (Digital Library Program Manager, Harvard University Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. E‐mail:


ISSN: 0305-5728

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



The concept of representation format permeates all technical aspects of digital repository architecture and is, therefore, the foundation of many, if not all, digital preservation activities. Digital formats need to be understood both as general classes of encodings and in the specific instances of digital objects. The Digital Library Foundation (DLF) has sponsored an initial investigation into the creation of a global digital format registry (GDRF) to maintain format representation information. Using such information, ancillary tools and services can be created for additional repository and preservation‐related functions such as format‐specific object identification, validation, and characterization. JSTOR and the Harvard University Library are cooperating on the development of an extensible format validation framework called JHOVE. This paper introduces both the GDFR and JHOVE projects.



Abrams, S.L. (2004), "The role of format in digital preservation", VINE, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 49-55.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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