Unified Digital Format Registry (UDFR)
a semantic registry for digital preservation

The UDFR was a reliable, publicly accessible, and sustainable knowledge base of file format representation information for use by the digital preservation community.

A format is a set of semantic and syntactic rules governing the mapping between abstract information and its representation in digital form. While many worthwhile and necessary preservation activities can be performed on a digital asset without knowledge of its format, that is, merely as a sequence of bits, any higher-level preservation of the underlying information content must be performed in the context of the asset's format.

The UDFR sought to "unify" the function and holdings of two existing registries, PRONOM and GDFR (the Global Digital Format Registry), in an open source, semantically enabled, and community supported platform.

The UDFR was developed by the University of California Curation Center (UC3) at the California Digital Library (CDL), funded by the Library of Congress as part of its National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program (NDIIPP). The service is implemented on top of the OntoWiki semantic wiki and Virtuoso triple store.

As of Friday, April 15, 2016, the California Digital Library will be shutting down its experimental Unified Digital Format Registry (UDFR) service. The UDFR project (2010-2012) served a valuable purpose in exploring the possibilities of a semantically-enabled registry for file format representation information useful for digital preservation activities. Evolving CDL priorities have, however, constrained the level of resources available to continue providing access to the UDFR, especially with regard to its aging underlying technology platform and infrastructure.

CDL recommends use of the UK National Archives's PRONOM service for future access to format representation information.

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