SUNScholar/Digitisation/Digital Formats/Open

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Open Codecs






Data Sets

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Dear Hilton,

I would advise that you adopt open (i.e. non-propriety) standards, as these have the best chance of remaining readable in the long-term future.
Propriety formats are dependent on the continuing existence of the firm who markets them, as well as the continued support by this firm, even if they continue to exist.
This is in my opinion very risky.

For documents I am aware of an ISO standard that is targeted at archival, known as PDF/A (see

For audio and video the situation is less developed, and there are as far as I know no standards specifically for archival.
In both cases I would recommend that data be saved without lossy compression, and again that open standards be sought.
Hence mp3 and WMV should be avoided, both because they are based on lossy  compression and are are propriety.
The audio format FLAC on the other hand is open and does not employ lossy compression.

I hope this is of help,
Best regards,
Thomas Niesler.

Prof. Thomas Niesler
Digital Signal Processing Group
Department of Electronic Engineering
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 8084118
Fax:   +27 21 8084981