Transfer VHSTransfer VHS-CTransfer DVScan PHOTOGRAPHSScan SLIDESScan PAPERSTransfer AUDIO CASSETTESTransfer 3.5" FLOPPIESSaving and Sharing
Film and VideoPhotographs and Papers
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This is the "File Formats" page of the "Memory Lab" guide.
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Memory Lab   Tags: digital preservation, personal archiving  

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Last Updated: Sep 11, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

File Formats Print Page

File Format Tips

Save it.

Choose a format that will last when you save your file. Transfer old files to formats you can open.

1. Avoid proprietary formats.

2. Save in the highest resolution possible.

3. For documents, save to PDF or PDF/A

4. For pictures, TIFF > JPEG2000 > PNG > JPEG > DNG > BMP > GIF

5. For music, WAVE > AIFF > MP3

6. Movie files consist of codecs and containers. The container can usually be seen at the end of the file name. ex. familyvacation.mp4

Recommended Codecs: FFV1, H.264, AVC, DV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4

Recommended Containers: MKV, MOV, AVI, MP4




Library of Congress recommended formats statement 2015-2016


DROID scans your folders and creates reports about file formats, sizes, and can help identify duplicate files.


Oral History in the Digital Age Project's article on digital video preservation


NARA's frequently asked questions about digital audio and video


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