Formats & Tiers
While we can accommodate most file formats, some are more sustainable than others. The resources on this page will identify several preferred file formats and will outline the level of support that we can provide for the format you select.
File Format Selection Guidelines
Researchers are encouraged to select sustainable file formats when submitting their research for access and preservation. Sustainable file formats are:
- Widely used by appropriate research community
- Well documented, open standard
- Uncompressed (size permitting)
- Encoded in standard representation (e.g., ASCII, UTF-8)
Given these considerations, the following formats have been evaluated and assigned a support tier.
|Support tier||Resource type||File extension||Format name|
|1||Data||csv||Comma Separated Values|
|1||Data||xml||Extensible Markup Language|
|1||Text||Portable Document Format|
|1||Text||pdf/a||Portable Document Format for preservation|
|1||Video||avi||Audio Video Interleaved|
|3||Image||gif||Graphic Interchange Format|
Our list of file formats will grow as researchers’ needs develop. Formats not included in this table will be considered on a case-by-case basis and assigned to the appropriate tier. Please contact us regarding formats not listed here.
Open Sustainable File Formats (e.g., .txt) -- See list above for recommendations
We will preserve your data to the best of our ability, and migrate the content over time to ensure accessibility. We’ll keep a copy of your original file as well, just in case you want to revisit the original bitstream (1’s and 0’s).
Some well-known, but proprietary files (e.g., Microsoft Word) – See list above for other examples
We will preserve your original file, but are limited in how we can maintain it. We’ll always keep the 1’s and 0’s in the right order, but some formatting or other features may change.
Proprietary file formats with little to no open documentation (e.g., .spss) – See list above for other examples
There are times when a specialized format is required for your data. In these cases, we will work with you. We will commit to preserving the original bitstream (1’s and 0’s) and the submitted metadata; however, while the files may or may not be renderable in the future, we can make no guarantees on the form or presentation it will take.