Digital Preservation team

12 October 2012

The National Archives has been shortlisted for the Digital Preservation Coalition's (DPC) award for 'most outstanding contribution to digital preservation in the last decade'.

Our PRONOM and DROID services have been celebrated alongside contributions from three other institutions for the Decennial Award - a special award offered to mark the tenth anniversary of the DPC.

The National Archives has previously won prestigious DPC awards in 2004 and 2007.

How does PRONOM work?

PRONOM is an online database containing details of more than 900 different digital file formats. Along with the DROID file format identification tool, which uses the database, PRONOM enables digital archivists, records managers and anyone using the tool to find out what files they have, in which formats and how best to ensure their long-term preservation.

The DROID tool scans a computer or hard drive and identifies files either through their file extension (for example .doc for Word files) or by matching the file's internal signature with specific entries in the PRONOM database. Internal signatures are a far more accurate way of identifying file formats, as extensions can be easily changed or deleted.

The history of PRONOM

The first version of PRONOM was developed by The National Archives' Digital Preservation department for internal use in March 2002 and was launched as a free online service to the public in February 2004.

In 2007 The National Archives won the prestigious Digital Preservation Award for its development of the PRONOM and DROID tools, in recognition of its significant contribution to digital preservation.

DROID and PRONOM have been incorporated into a number of archival digital repository systems, including those used by the National Archives of Estonia, Finland, Austria and Switzerland.

DROID has also been used by a number of UK government departments as part of their information assets and records management processes, with the assistance of The National Archives' Digital Preservation team.

Read more about our work with PRONOM and DROID on our blog.

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