May 16, 2022

Digital Preservation: University of California Curation Center/CDL Releases Unified Digital Format Registry (UDFR)

From a U. of California Digital Library Blog Post by Stephen Abrams:

A deep understanding of digital formats is necessary to support the long-term preservation of digital assets, as it facilitates the preservation of the information content of those assets, rather than just their bit stream representations.

A format is the set of syntactic and semantic rules that govern the mapping between information and the bits that represent that information.

The UDFR is a new semantically-enabled, community-supported open source platform for the collection, long-term management, and dissemination of the significant properties of formats of interest to the preservation community.

The UDFR builds upon and “unifies” the function and holdings of two existing registry solutions: PRONOM, from the UK National Archives; and GDFR (Global Digital Format Registry), from Harvard University.

While these services rely on older relational and XML database technology, the UDFR uses a semantic database in which all information is represented in RDF form and exposed as Linked Data for interoperability with the evolving semantic web. Use of the UDFR is open to the public, although contribution or editing of information requires prior self-service account registration.

The UDFR was developed by UC3 with funding from the Library of Congress as part of its National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program (NDIIPP).

The UDFR is expected to become a key piece of preservation infrastructure of use to the international preservation, curation, and repository communities. The information that it manages is important for purposes of preservation risk analysis, planning, and intervention.

Direct to Unified Digital Format Registry (UDFR) Home Page

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.