National Archives Wins 2020 NDSA Organization Innovation Award
Press Release · Thursday, November 12, 2020

Washington, DC

The National Archives has been awarded the 2020 NDSA Organization Innovation Award, recognizing its Digital Preservation Framework as “a vital tool of great, if not critical, utility to international stewardship programs and practitioners.” The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) announced the award during the online NDSA Digital Preservation conference. 

In accepting the award, National Archives Director of Digital Preservation Leslie Johnston said, “NARA has long focused on electronic records and digital preservation, having accessioned its first born-digital records in 1970. NARA supports digital preservation in a comprehensive manner, with guidance for record creators and record transfers, tools for processing archivists, services for copying records from legacy media, a preservation strategy and file format plans, and the cloud-based ERA 2.0 processing and preservation repository. We at NARA value the work of the NDSA and our relationship with the NDSA community. We thank them for this recognition of our work, which we are thrilled to be able to share with them.” 

The National Archives Digital Preservation Framework documents and shares the National Archives’ recommended preservation actions for over 500 file formats, contextualizing them within 16 record type categories. It is a unique, comprehensive resource that combines detailed format risk analysis, prioritization for action, and recommended preservation actions, with links to hundreds of format specifications and related resources. 

The framework comprises three parts: A Risk Matrix for the analysis of the sustainability of file formats; Preservation Plans for Electronic Record Types, which  document essential characteristics; and Preservation Actions Plans for over 500 file formats. The framework provides, in a single resource, numerous format identification crosswalks (extensions, MIME types, PRONOM IDs, etc.), types of analysis, and proposed actions designed to enable a low barrier to use, no matter an organization’s current digital preservation practices or infrastructure. It can be applied across the lifecycle: the documented format sustainability metrics provide critical context for records creator and management decisions, support records selection and appraisal, inform the selection of tools through their support for essential record characteristics, and guide the selection of formats available for public access.

The framework documents the National Archives' current capabilities and practices, which will evolve over time. The documents are available at:

About the NDSA Innovation Award
The NDSA initiated its Innovation Awards in 2012 to recognize, honor, and encourage innovation in the field of digital stewardship and preservation  These awards acknowledge excellence of national or international significance by individuals, projects, organizations, future stewards, and educators.  

Additional Resources: 

NDSA Announces Winners of 2020 Innovation Awards

About the Digital Preservation Program

National Archives Releases Digital Preservation Framework

National Archives Releases Digital Preservation Framework for Public Comment


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