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Library of Congress - Release of of the Recommended Formats Statement

Wednesday 23, Sep 2020

The Library of Congress is excited to release the newest version of the Recommended Formats Statement. Over the last several months, the team of experts charged with maintaining, improving and ensuring the accuracy of the Statement have been engaged in the annual process of examining the Statement and its content categories, to ensure that it correctly reflects the technical characteristics for best practices regarding preservation and long-term access. The team of experts have made considerable changes to this year’s Recommended Formats Statement with expanded content categories and format preferences (https://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/rfs/).

This year marks the sixth anniversary of the first release of the Recommended Formats Statement and one of the most monumental in recent years. With the Statement now an established resource within the creative landscape, we dedicated ourselves to exploring ways in which we can extend its reach and make it even more useful for its many stakeholders.  Ensuring that the Statement is both accurate and useful is dependent on knowing from the stakeholders what needs to be updated and corrected to reflect current best practices.

The major revisions involved in what we are calling RFS 2.0 are twofold.  The first is a restructuring of the Statement itself, to represent developments in how works are created in our increasingly digital world.  As a result, in this version of the RFS are included three new categories of creative works: Musical Scores; GIS, Geospatial and Non-GIS Cartographic; and Design and 3D.  Each category represents the remarkable and unique ways in which creation is happening of all three types of works.  The second is the creation of a file format evaluation matrix.  This tool provides our in-house experts a structured way to manage their review of digital file formats as part of the annual revision process of the RFS; and it offers external users of the Recommended Formats transparency in how the Library evaluates digital file formats in the RFS hierarchies.

The Library of Congress is encouraged by the value its partners and stakeholders around the world have found in the Recommended Formats Statement; and we hope that the work undertaken this year will make them even more useful.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts as you work with the Statement and taking them into consideration as we tackle the next annual revision in 2022.