PRONOM is more than just a database of technical information. It is intended to encompass a range of tools, and services to support digital preservation functions such as preservation risk assessment, migration pathway planning, object identification and validation, and metadata extraction.
The future of PRONOM
Find out more about our plans to make PRONOM's data available in a linked open data format on The National Archives Labs.
A proposal is underway to bring together two registry efforts, PRONOM and the Global Digital Format Registry Project (see below). The new agreement will support the requirements of a larger digital preservation community, creating a Unified Digital Formats Registry (UDFR). For further information, read the proposal for a UDFR.
Droid: Digital Record Object Identification
DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) is a software tool developed by The National Archives to perform automated batch identification of file formats. It is the first in a planned series of tools developed by The National Archives under the umbrella of its PRONOM technical registry service.
DROID is a platform-independent Java tool, which is freely available to download under an open source license. You can download the latest version of DROID for free.
PRONOM Unique Identifiers
The PRONOM Unique Identifier (PUID) is an extensible scheme for providing persistent, unique and unambiguous identifiers for records in the PRONOM registry. In the first instance, PUIDs are being assigned to file formats, with over 130 of the most common formats already assigned identifiers, and more being added on a regular basis.
Further information about the PUID scheme is available here.
A number of other international projects are currently exploring the development of registries of technical information to support digital preservation, together with relevant tools and services. These include:
This Java tool has been developed by Harvard University to allow the automatic identification, validation and characterisation of a range of digital object types. It is freely available under the GNU Lesser General Public License, and the beta pre-release version is currently available to download.
National Library of New Zealand Metadata Extractor
The NLNZ has developed a Java-based tool to extract preservation metadata from within digital objects, and save it in XML format. The tool is freely available to download.
Global Digital Format Registry Project
This international project is working to develop a model for a global file format registry. Its membership encompasses the international library and archival communities, including the National Archives. A draft data model has been developed, and FRED, a demonstrator of that model has been implemented using TOM. Funding is currently being sought to develop a prototype registry implementation.
Typed Object Model
TOM is an object-based infrastructure for describing diverse data formats, developed by Dr John Mark Ockerbloom at the University of Pennsylvania Library. TOM describes formats using type descriptions and also implements "type brokers", which receive and maintain descriptions of data formats, describe them to clients, and contact servers that interpret and translate data in those formats.
KB Preservation Manager
The National Library of the Netherlands is developing a "Preservation Manager" tool as part of its e-Depot system. This application manages and controls the long-term durability of electronic records through the structured registration of technical metadata. The system of "Preservation Layer Models" and "View Paths" used is based on a similar concept of representation information to that which underlies PRONOM and other registry projects.
Digital Formats for Library of Congress Collections
This Library of Congress website is collecting technical information about file formats relevant to the Library’s digital collections, in order to inform preservation decisions. It also includes an overview of factors which may affect the sustainability of formats over the long-term.
Virtual Remote Control
VRC is a risk management methodology developed by Cornell University Library for assessing risks impacting the sustainability of web based resources over time. It includes assessments of tools which may be useful for remotely monitoring websites, and a test website for evaluating the methodology.
The PANIC project, at the University of Queensland’s Distributed Systems Technology Centre, is developing a semi-automated preservation service for scientific data, which will allow monitoring of archival collections, support decision making about preservation actions, and then invoke the appropriate preservation service (such as a format conversion service), using the semantic web and web services.
Digital Curation Centre
This JISC-funded consortium has recently been established to support UK institutions, particularly within the higher- and further-education sectors, in storing, managing and preserving digital data of long-term value. As part of this work, it is investigating the issue of file format registries.
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