|Digital Repository at the University of Maryland|
DRUM Supported Formats
DRUM Format Support Policy
We want to provide support for as many file formats as possible. Over time, items stored in DRUM will be preserved as is, using a combination of time-honored techniques for data management and best practices for digital preservation. As for specific formats, however, the proprietary nature of many file types makes it impossible to guarantee much more than this. Put simply, our policy for file formats is:
By "support", we mean "make useable in the future, using whatever combination of techniques (such as migration, emulation, etc.) is appropriate given the context of need". For supported formats, we might choose to bulk-transform files from a current format version to a future one, for instance. But we can't predict which services will be necessary down the road, so we'll continually monitor formats and techniques to ensure we can accomodate needs as they arise.
In the meantime, we can choose to "support" a format if we can gather enough documentation to capture how the format works. In particular, we collect file specifications, descriptions, and code samples. Unfortunately, this means that proprietary formats for which these materials are not publicly available cannot be supported in DRUM. We will still preserve these files, and in cases where those formats are native to tools supported by the Office of Information Technology, we will provide you with guidance on converting your files into formats we do support. It is also likely that for extremely popular but proprietary formats (such as Microsoft .doc, .xls, and .ppt), we will be able to help make files in those formats more useful in the future simply because their prevalence makes it likely tools will be available. Even so, we cannot guarantee this level of service without also having more information about the formats, so we will still list these formats as "known", not "supported".
Currently supported formats
In the table below, MIME type is the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) type identifier; for more information on MIME, see the MIME RFCs or the MIME FAQ. Description is what most people use as the name for the format. Extensions are typical file name extensions (the part after the dot, e.g. the extension for "index.html" is "html"). These are not case-sensitive in DRUM, so either "sample.XML" or "sample.xml" will be recognized as XML. Level is DRUM's support level for each format:
What to do if your format isn't listed
We understand that there are always more formats to consider, and we would appreciate your help in identifying and studying the suitability of support for formats you care about. If we can't identify a format, DRUM will record it as "unknown", aka "application/octet-stream", but we would like to keep the percentage of supported format materials in DRUM as high as possible. Don't hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.