University of Utah Library Guides
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Guide to Organizing Digital Files

Selecting Files for Donation

Decide which of your digital objects are important for future generations to see. Your goal is to highlight the overall history, themes, and historical relevance of the collection, instead of including every digital object ever created. Due to staffing, space, and financial realities, we can't preserve everything we bring in and if you are able to pre-select what we should preserve, your collection will be all the more dynamic!

Do your best to select the copy that is best representative of your collection.

  • Do you have a lot of objects that are almost identical? In that case, pick the best representative.
  • If you have different versions of a single creative work, select your final and favorite version, unless important alternate versions with major differences exist (such as an alternate ending or a major editing decision).
  • If you have more than one copy of a file, save the highest quality one (this generally means the largest file size).
  • Uncompressed files are best. (For example, with photo files, .tiff is uncompressed, while .jpg is compressed).

Though we’ll do our best with what we get, we can't preserve highly compressed formats as effectively as uncompressed (or loss-less compressed) formats. Please see Preferred Formats for more information on this.

If you have questions about working with specific file types, review the sections in Step 3: Organizing and Exporting Files. 


Formats for Preservation

Formats Unable to preserve Accepted Preferred
Text documents   .doc, .docx, .odt .txt, .pdfa
Maps, Books, Newspapers, etc.   .tiff (zip, lzw), .jp2k, jpg .tiff, .pdfa
Images .png, .gif .jpg, .jp2k .tiff
Audio    .aiff, .wav, .mp3 .flac 
Video   .mp4 .ffv1 (kmv), .mov
Web pages     .warc
Production files Ex. in design, photoshop, premiere, etc. N/A N/A


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