File Format Recommendations

IDEALS will accept your research no matter the file format. However, as you prepare it for submission to IDEALS, please keep in mind the following file format preferences. These recommendations are intended to complement the Preservation Support Policy.

  • Textual Formats (including Office/Presentation Formats):
    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - Comma-Separated values (.csv), Plain Text (.txt), XML (.xml), XHTML (.html), Formats
    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - Rich Text (.rtf), HTML (.htm, .html), Microsoft Word (.doc), Microsoft Excel (.xls), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt), Acrobat PDF (.pdf), Postscript (.ps)

  • Image Formats
    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - TIFF (.tif, .tiff), JPEG 2000 (.jp2)
    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - GIF (.gif), PNG (.png), JPEG (.jpg)

  • Audio Formats
    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - AIFF (.aif), FLAC (.fla), Ogg Vorbis (.ogg), Wave (.wav)
    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - AAC (.aac), MP3 (.mp3), Real Audio (.ram), Windows Media Audio (.wma)

  • Video Formats
    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - AVI (.avi), Motion JPEG 2000 (.mj2, .mjp2)
    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - MPEG-2 Video (.mp2), MPEG-4 Video (.mp4), Windows Media Video (.wmv), Quicktime (.mov)

File Format FAQ

1. The format of my file is not listed above. Should I still submit it to IDEALS?

Yes! IDEALS will take whatever file format your research is in. However, whenever possible, we prefer to receive files in formats which are given Highest Preference above. To better understand why this is, see our Digital Preservation Support Policy.

2. How does IDEALS decide the ranking of file formats?

IDEALS ranks file formats based on how "preservable" we feel they are, and how comfortable we are with maintaining each format. In particular, we are looking for all the following in formats ranked with the Highest Preference:

  • Is openly documented;
  • Is supported by a range of software platforms;
  • Is widely adopted;
  • Is lossless data compression (or no compression); and
  • Doesn't contains embedded files or embedded programs/scripts. Many proprietary formats (e.g. Microsoft Office formats) are not openly documented or viewable using third-party or free software. Based on this, most proprietary formats often are limited to Moderate Preference at best. For more information on our ranking criteria, see our Digital Preservation Support Policy.

Other questions? Feel free to ask us!

Topic revision: r6 - 07 Feb 2008 - 12:59:36 - kcostel4
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