May 18, 2022

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Releases Digital Preservation Framework

From NARA:

National Archives and Records Administration is releasing its Digital Preservation Framework, following the release of drafts for public comment in September 2019, which consists of our approach to determining risks faced by electronic record files and our plans for preserving different types of file formats.

Several dozen comments were received from Federal agencies, the private sector, stakeholders and subject matter experts during the public comment period from September to November, 2019. The National Archives’ digital preservation subject matter experts, led by Director of Digital Preservation Leslie Johnston, have been working to incorporate the comments into the plans, leading to several significant changes.

“We received comments that included suggestions for the structure of the plans, feedback about our proposed preservation actions, and additional formats that should be covered in addition to our own continued work,” Johnston said. “We have incorporated the feedback, added over 150 file formats, added a calendar record type, expanded links to other resources, and have made the format preservation plans available as a spreadsheet that can more easily be incorporated into the work of other organizations.”

The framework is a set of documents that describe how we identify risks to digital files and prioritize them for action, identify the essential preservation characteristics for 16 different categories of electronic records, and plan for the preservation of over 500 file formats. The framework documents the National Archives’ current capabilities and practices, which will evolve over time.

“As leaders in the government’s efforts for fully electronic recordkeeping, we will continue to consult with other Federal agencies, the private sector, stakeholders, subject-matter experts, and our international peers to document best practices in our archival and preservation efforts,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “We are committed to transparency and openness regarding our processes for identifying and mitigating risk in the electronic records that we preserve and make accessible.”

The public is welcome to provide feedback on the framework: you can use the Issues feature to leave comments or questions or to start a discussion. The goal is to continuously update these plans in response to changing risks and new technologies and formats.

Direct to NARA Digital Preservation Framework Overview and Documents

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.