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Program Digital Collections Management Compendium

Recommended Formats for Acquisition

This guidance explains the relationship of the Library's Recommended Formats Statement to collection development, acquisition, and preservation planning.

The Library has stated a preference regarding formats included in the Library’s collection, for both analog and digital materials, since 2014. This statement is publicized in the Recommended Formats Statement (RFS), which is published on the Library’s website and updated through a regular, open review process . The RFS identifies hierarchies of the physical and technical characteristics of creative formats, both analog and digital, which will maximize the chances for survival and continued accessibility of creative content well into the future. The RFS fulfills two primary functions related to planning for the preservation and access of materials: 1) it provides internal guidance that informs the Library’s acquisition decisions for materials not received through the Copyright Office; and 2) it informs the creative and cultural memory communities on best practices for ensuring the preservation of, and long-term access to, the creative output of the nation and the world. These recommendations encourage the use of sustainable formats, but it is not necessarily intended to direct creators to transform their files into a different format.

To the extent possible, divisions acquiring collections, whether digital or analog, should follow the RFS. The "Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement" (RFS) is published by the Library on the Library's website at The RFS is updated on an annual basis.