Content curators need lightweight tools to help them determine the full range of different file formats that comprise their digital newspaper collections and to assess whether these file formats are valid according to their specifications. It should be noted that format identification and validation tools are limited in the types of formats that they can reasonably identify and validate—in some cases multiple tools may be needed to validate outputs for a single collection. Some format identification and validation tools can also produce technical metadata (more on this in Section 3: “Metadata Packaging for Digital Newspapers”).
Helpful format identification tools include:
Normalization and migration decisions are ultimately policy decisions. There is no “right” answer regarding whether or not these activities are necessary or advisable for a particular institution. In order to establish local policy, an institution should consider the following:
- Level of need: Does the institution have obsolete digital newspaper formats?
- The viability of the institution’s current digital newspaper formats.
- The range of the institution’s current formats: Is it so broad that the institution’s ability to keep track of viability is compromised?
- Resource levels: Is it feasible for the institution to test and run any format management tool?
If normalization and/or migration are undertaken, the tools an institution uses should be thoroughly tested prior to implementation.