How Do You Know What Product is Right for Your Project?

The Reformatting Approaches are summary charts, which match expectations with appropriate products for each original record type. In many cases, the product selection for a given service level or product category is pre-determined by the source format. In some cases, there is a choice of products available. There is a consultative process between archival staff and technical staff during which the most appropriate product(s) are chosen.

The selection of appropriate product category is based on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Fragility/condition and rarity of the source material
  • Quality and content of the source material
  • Anticipated use requirements, e.g. functionality and technical distribution constraints
  • Cultural/historical significance
  • Specific project goals

The characteristics of each product, whether film-based or digital, are chosen for an appropriate level of longevity and quality. Motion picture film and microfilm film stock for example meet industry standards for long term stability. In line with many digital preservation research efforts including Library of Congress and The National Archives UK, digital formats were determined based on several factors including

  • ease of identification and validation
  • adoption and ubiquity in marketplace
  • transparency
  • metadata support
  • interoperability
  • complexity
  • re-usability
  • hardware and software output options

Additional considerations for digital products include hardware and software limitations, file sizes and the availability of digital storage space.

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