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What would happen if you no longer had access to your files because the software no longer existed? The format your data is saved in is one of the most critical elements in how reusable your data will be in the future. Today, we are going to nudge you to consider file formats. 

 
 

File Format Considerations

♦ Whenever possible, save a copy of your data in a non-proprietary (open) format for long-term preservation and easy-access.
♦ Visit Research Data Service for more information on how to decide the suitable format for your data.

Credit for image to University of Illinois Library
 

Describing Your Computing Environment

♦ In many cases, you may need to actively work with data in a proprietary format and/or a format that can only be used with a specific type of software or equipment. Because of this, it is important to include a readme file in your directory that documents:
            • The name and version of software used;
            • Year and/or company who made the software/instrument;
            • Information about the required operating systems;
            • And other information needed in order to use these files again.

♦ The Library of Congress has published a Recommended Formats Statement which discusses this topic in more depth.
 
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