National Library of Australia Staff Papers, 2007

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AONS II: Continuing the trend towards preservation software 'nirvana'

David Pearson


File format obsolescence is a major risk factor threatening the sustainability of and access to digital information. While the preservation community has become increasingly interested in tools for migration and transformation of file formats, the National Library of Australia is developing mechanisms specifically focused on monitoring and assessing the risks of file format obsolescence. This paper report on the AONS II project, undertaken by the National Library of Australia (NLA) in conjunction with the Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR). The project aimed to develop a software tool which allows users to automatically monitor the status of file formats in their repositories, make risk assessments based on a core set of obsolescence risk questions, and receive notifications when file format risks change or other related events occur. This paper calls for the preservation community to develop a co-operating file format obsolescence community which includes registries, software tool creators and end users to effectively create digital content in order to maintain long-term access.

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