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Preservation of Word-Processing Documents

CollectionsAustralian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR)
Title: Preservation of Word-Processing Documents
Author(s): Barnes, Ian
Keywords: Digital Preservation
Digital Curation
Digital Stewardship
Digital Sustainability
Data Sharing
Data Preservation
Text Encoding Initiative
Publisher: Australia: Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR)
Word processing documents are a major problem for digital repositories. As I will explain below, they are not suitable for long-term storage, so they need to be converted into an archival format for preservation. In this report I will address the following questions: • What file formats are suitable for long-term storage of word processed text documents?; and • How can we convert documents into a suitable archival format? I also address the related non-technical question: • How can we get authors to convert and deposit their work? While the vast majority of material generated by universities is text, most research on digital preservation concentrates on images, sound recordings, video and multimedia. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is because text is simple, but unfortunately that’s not so. Even relatively short text documents (like this one) have complex structure consisting of sections (parts, chapters, subsections etc) and also of indented structures like lists and blockquotes. A significant part of the meaning is lost if that structure is ignored (for example by saving as plain text).


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