June 23, 2014 Library of Congress Identifies Recommended Formats for Long-Term Preservation

Contact: Gayle Osterberg (202) 707-2905

The Library of Congress today released a set of recommended formats for a broad spectrum of creative works, ranging from books to digital music, to inform the Library’s acquisition practices. The format recommendations will help ensure the Library’s collections processes are considering and maximizing the long-term preservation potential of its large and varied collections.

The recommended formats can be viewed here www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/rfs/ and cover six categories of creative output:

  • Textual Works and Musical Compositions
  • Still Image Works
  • Audio Works
  • Moving Image Works
  • Software and Electronic Gaming and Learning
  • Datasets/Databases

The recommendations will not result in the exclusion of other formats from consideration for the Library’s permanent collections. Foremost, the recommendations will enable the Library to identify the preferred format for acquisition when a work is offered in more than one format. However, given the importance of building a collection that can be preserved and made accessible in the long-term, it is expected that Library staff will take the recommendations into account in conjunction with other acquisitions guidelines.

The Library convened in-house, subject-matter specialists from across its curatorial divisions to develop the recommended formats. The Library will review and update the recommendations annually to ensure they remain current given the rapidly changing technological landscape.

In addition to informing internal processes, the Library is also making the recommended formats public to inform the creative and library communities of best practices for ensuring the preservation of and long-term access to creative output.

“The Library’s mission is not simply to collect the extraordinary and diverse creative content of the American people and from around the world, but to make sure the collections are available and accessible for many generations to come,” said Roberta Shaffer, Association Librarian for Library Services. “The goal of these recommendations and the ongoing process of reviewing and updating them annually is both to inform our internal acquisitions teams and also to share with external audiences what we are observing works well from a preservation perspective.”

Library of Congress officials will provide an overview and answer questions regarding the recommendations at the American Library Association’s annual conference June 26-30.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 14-111
ISSN 0731-3527