When adding files to a digital archive, an important questions is "What file formats have we got here?" Knowing this can:
- determine the right software to open the file and view the contents
- start the conversation with the data provider about what formats are best to use for archiving
- discuss the risks on the format and define a migration pathway for preservation and/or access
- what should happen if ingested data can't be identified?
- should the curator/digital archivist be able to over-ride file identifications?
- what should happen if there is more than one possible identification for a file?
- is there a sustainable manual identification process if tools cannot identify a file?
- how to contribute to file format registries such as PRONOM
- is the digital preservation system configurable enough to resolve these questions?
[Our Rosetta system has a format library that handles these questions, as well as a user driven Format Working Group that helps resolve questions and interacts with PRONOM if there are questions, changes or new additions. - Chris]