File Format Tips
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