A Future Combination of PRONOM and GDFR?

An interesting emerging digital preservation development is the Unified Digital Formats Registry (UDFR) combining efforts from the UK National Archive’s PRONOM service and Harvard University’s Global Digital Formats Registry (GDFR).

THE GDFR website notes in April 2009 the GDFR initiative joined forces with the UK National Archives’ PRONOM registry initiative under a new name – the Unified Digital Formats Registry (UDFR). The UDFR will support the requirements and use cases compiled for GDFR and will be seeded with PRONOM’s software and formats database. A new website is being constructed for the UDFR and will be available at www.udfr.org.

To quote from the UDFR Proposal and Roadmap:

” There are two major efforts underway to create a format registry with complimentary strengths and weaknesses. PRONOM, created by The National Archives (TNA) in the UK, has a strong technological base, and has been building a database of original information about various digital formats. PRONOM at this point however is owned and maintained by a single organization, making it vulnerable to changes in that institution. The Global Digital Formats Registry (GDFR) effort, hosted by Harvard University, has developed a model for a registry based on shared governance, cooperative data contribution, and distributed data hosting. However, GDFR is technically less far along in development, and has not yet begun database building.

Given the paucity of resources in the digital preservation community it would be highly unfortunate if these efforts were to compete for resources. Therefore a group of involved and interested institutions have agreed to join together to create a single shared formats registry drawing on the individual strengths of the two existing efforts. The initiative would:

  • be technically based on the existing PRONOM system and database;
  • create a community governance model for the registry involving all institutions willing to contribute to its development;
  • develop a mechanism for the distribution of the registry data in such a way as to support local extensions and additions to the database;
  • develop both technical and organizational support for distributed input to the registry, including some form of quality vetting of contributed data.”

Further details of the proposal are available from the GDFR website.

2 Responses to “A Future Combination of PRONOM and GDFR?”

  1. Richard on 10 Apr 2009 at 7:22 am

    looks promising and the timeframe of July 2010 is reasonable too. I wonder what it will mean in real terms though – how will it affect the avg genealogist?

  2. Neil on 13 Apr 2009 at 11:31 am

    Hi Richard

    hopefully it should be a positive development for users – if it can broaden and strengthen organisational support by combining efforts in the field.

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