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Screenshot from introduction page for the Library of Congress' Recommended Formats Statement.

Recommended Formats Statement: Updates for 2024-2025

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Today’s guest post is from Liz Holdzkom, Marcus Nappier, Genevieve Havemeyer-King and Kate Murray of the Digital Collections Management & Services Division and Ted Westervelt, Chief, US/Anglo Division at the Library of Congress.

The Recommended Formats Statement (RFS) is now entering its second decade since it was first launched in 2014. Suffice to say, it remains an important tool for both the Library of Congress but also the wider community who seek to create, collect and preserve published works in all forms. Just this past year, there were approximately 40K page views by almost 15K unique visitors around the globe. The resource has evolved over its lifespan to reflect not only changing priorities and capabilities but also its impact on the cultural landscape.

The 2024-2025 edition brings several significant changes. First, as described in detail in a recent blog post, the RFS has introduced support for digital accessibility features as a criterion for evaluating digital formats. It’s important to consider a format’s capacity for accessibility features as user expectations evolve, such as tagged or structured text, embedded captions and timecode for audiovisual content, and labeled table headings for datasets. However, the RFS does not require these accessibility features to be enabled for content in LC collections. An updated template of the evaluation matrix with sample data is available for download.

Screenshot from the Frequently Asked Questions page for the Recommended Formats Statement.
Screenshot from the FAQ page for the Recommended Formats Statement.

Also new this year is a FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions in response to user feedback. This addition covers topics such as “What does preferred and acceptable formats mean in the context of the RFS?”, “What is the review cycle of the RFS?” and “How to submit comments and questions.” We hope this resource further supports use of the RFS, and of course, comments are always welcome through [email protected].

The RFS 2024 also brings several impactful changes to the language of the RFS, especially with print materials. While digital formats included in the RFS have a structured evaluation matrix (see our template with sample data linked above) to help with the yearly discussions and deliberations by the content teams, recommendations for print data in Textual Works and Musical Scores were revised this year thanks to feedback from colleagues newly recruited into the process.

There is also a new format addition, DDP or Disc Description Protocol, as an acceptable format for Audio – Media-independent (digital). And BITS (Book Interchange Tag Suite) moved from a preferred to an acceptable format for Textual Works – Digital. Other notable changes include additions and updates to preferred formats for Audio Works, as well as new components for preferred metadata for Datasets.

A detailed list of all the changes is available in the Change Log, and in addition to the HTML version, the RFS is also available as a PDF.

Comments are welcome below or through [email protected].

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