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Section 3: Archiving GIS data#

6.3.3 Deposit formats#

The subsections specifically call out which file formats ADS supports, where a discussion of which formats are appropriate for archival and dissemination would be more appropriate.

The formats that are safest for digital preservation vary with the type of information contained within a file. In this section, recommendations are given for formatting of GIS files, databases, images, documentation, and metadata. GIS files#

The ADS is able to accept most major file formats, though Arc/Info [ESRI] formats are preferred as this is the software which we actually used to manage and migrate GIS data sets. We can accept anything from a combination of DXF and DBF files to the following GIS formats:

  • Arc/Info export
  • Arc/Info ungen
  • ArcView
  • Idrisi
  • NTF
  • SDTF
  • MOSS
  • VPF
  • [GML]
  • [KML]

If you have external databases connected to your GIS system, for example a database containing your attribute data, then you may want to archive these as well. The ADS prefers ASCII delimited files (providing that you tell us how you've delimited them... whether you've used commas, semi-colons or more creative things) and DBF files. We can also accept files in Access and Paradox formats, but please make certain that you have not formatted the databases in a way that are specific to these programmes. Image files#

It is NOT necessary to archive images of every single coverage in your GIS, nor is it necessary to archive images showing all of the ways you used the GIS to play with that data. Occasionally an image may have proven useful to you in a research project and, in order to document the research that you did, archiving that image might be worth more than 1,000 words of documentation. One example is an image showing lithic flakes scattered across a house floor in a pattern that you argued demonstrates lithic production was taking place on site -- that single image might be well worth including.

We prefer images to be in TIFF format, but can accept BIL, BMP, CGM, Geotiff, GIF, JPEG, PhotoCD, and PNG files too. [See the guide on Raster Images] Documentation to accompany your GIS, database, or image files#

Your data set -- the GIS files, database files, and image files -- will need to be accompanied by detailed documentation as described in Section 5 and earlier in Section 6. We prefer this information as either ASCII text files or RTF files, but can also accept HTML, LaTeX, ODA, PDF, Postscript, SGML, TeX, Word, [ODF] or WordPerfect files. Metadata to accompany your GIS, database, or image files#

As mentioned in Section 5, tools are being developed to assist in the automatic creation of metadata records. These tools will take the form of interactive forms on the Internet, and assistance in downloading metadata information directly from existing databases. Information about these tools will appear in the ADS Guidelines for Depositors. In the meantime, though, life must go on tDAR utilises a number of interactive web forms to help users create metadata for resources they deposit. Metadata may also be created in either ASCII text format or as ASCII delimited database files. The ADS prefers metadata to be sent in these formats.

Is this too ADS specific?
Data can be accepted on 5.25 or 3.5 inch double-density or high-density floppy disks or CD-ROM, [DVD], over e-mail, or via FTP. If data are transferred via FTP we prefer to 'pull' data, so please contact the ADS in advance to make arrangements. Other file formats can be accommodated, please email the ADS for details.

6.3.4 Encoding files#

Is this too ADS specific?
We prefer data not to be encoded, but can accept UUENCODED files.

6.3.5 Compressing files#

If data is compressed, we prefer the following formats: GNU (.gz), Pkzip, Stuffit, TAR, Unix compressed files (.Z), or Zip.

In some cases, data sets may need to be compressed to assist in transferring information to the archive or out of it again. Large data sets with numerous component files are most easily handled in this way. For example, if you are using GRASS the complete directory structure associated with a location or mapset spatial database might be transferred to the ADS digital archive as a single compressed file.