PREFORMA – PREservation FORMAts for culture information/e-archives – is a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) project co-funded by the European Commission, under its FP7-ICT Programme. Memory institutions are facing increasing transfers of electronic documents and other media content for long-term preservation. Preservation models are often inspired by ISO 14721:2012, known as “the OAIS model”, where transfers and preservation are built on information packages containing both data and metadata.

Data is normally stored in specific file formats for documents, images, sound, video etc. that are produced by software from different vendors. Even if the transferred files are in standard formats, the implementation of standards cannot be guaranteed.

The software implementing standards for the production of the electronic files is not controlled either by the institutions that produces them or by the memory institutions. Conformance tests of transfers are done, but are not totally reliable. This poses problems in long-term preservation. Data objects meant for preservation, passing through an uncontrolled generative process, can jeopardise the entire preservation exercise.

The overall intention of PREFORMA is to research critical factors in the quality of standard implementation in order to establish a long-term sustainable ecosystem around developed tools with a variety of stakeholder groups. The tools should be innovative and provide a reference implementation of the most common file format standards for the assessment of the collections to be archived and for the correction of the collections.

The network of common interest of PREFORMA will be set up with representatives from memory institutions, researchers and developers who are interested in contributing to the definition of requirements and taking part in the assessment and exploitation of the results produced by the suppliers.

We are very much interested in engaging with: Memory institutions and cultural heritage organisations coordinating or representing memory institutions, that are involved in (or planning) digital culture initiatives, to use the tools developed by PREFORMA.

  • Developers contributing code for the PREFORMA tools as well as developers implementing the reference implementations in production software.
  • ​Research organisations providing technical advice and expertise to cultural stakeholders.
  • ​Standardisation bodies maintaining the technical specifications of the preservation formats addressed in PREFORMA.
  • ​Funding agencies, such as Ministries of Culture and national/regional administrations, that own and manage digitisation programmes and may endorse the use of the PREFORMA tools in the digitisation process.
  • ​Best practice networks endorsing the use of open standards in creating and managing digital content.
  • ​Other projects in the digital culture, e-Infrastructures and policy arenas.