Institutions with limited resources can fulfill the essential steps in preservation readiness by documenting the formats they are managing and the potential sustainability issues associated with these formats. If the institution is managing reliable formats (i.e., formats that are not obsolete or in danger of obsolescence in the near-term), a regular process of re-checking and carefully documenting the file formats in its collections can suffice for a basic preservation readiness step in the short term. If the institution identifies obsolescence issues for any of the formats it manages, however, it should strongly consider migrating the at-risk files to a stable file format (remember that this does not need to lead to removing support for the original format).
File identification is the first step in format management, and there are a number of ways to fulfill this step. One lightweight way an institution with limited time or modest technical skills may accumulate basic knowledge about its file formats is to work with a technical staff person or system administrator to install a tool like DROID that has a graphical user interface (GUI) and has direct links to PRONOM, one of the longer-standing format registries. Once the institution understands the format types it holds and their associated risk factors, the institution may make policy-based decisions regarding what normalizing and migration activities it must take and what staffing/resources will be required or partnerships it will need to form in order to accomplish this further work. Xena (see above) is a well-documented format normalization tool that also has a GUI that should be relatively easy for an institution to begin working with.