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Depositing digital records

This guide is aimed at anyone who has records in digital format which they want to deposit with us at the Norfolk Record Office (NRO).

Before deposit


Check for and remove any password protection or other security features applied to your files.

If we cannot open a file or convert it into a preservation format we will remove it from our systems.

Sensitive information

Check the content of your records for any sensitive or confidential information such as:

  • Bank details
  • Medical or health details
  • Personal, biographical information

Access restrictions can be applied for an agreed, limited period of time in most cases.

Also check through any emails or archived email folders. Delete duplicate files and any working or draft versions of text documents, where final versions exist.

File formats

Software evolves and backwards compatibility is not always retained.

To give us the best opportunity of preserving and providing long-term access to digital records we focus on a sub-set of widely-accepted, stable, open formats: see below for these.

Information: general

To the best of your knowledge please tell us:

  • The software (including version) used to create, open, read, edit and save the file/s
  • The operating system used (including version; for example Windows XP Service Pack 2003, Mac OS X 10.6.8)
  • The purpose for creating the data, whether it be personal, business or research
  • The approximate date or dates when the records were created: this is important because copying files from one storage area to another can lose the create date of the copied file
  • Any copyright or other intellectual property rights in the records

Information: specific

Please supply a list of files to be transferred: see our section below on compiling a list of files for ways of doing this.


We can accept files on any removable media and (for small files only) by email. Our preservation focus is on the digital files, not the transfer medium.

Unless the carrier includes some contextual information - for example, it is marked 'Year 2 1998' - it will not be kept in the long-term.

Please tell us if you want the carriers returned, though we may charge for postage.

Not all records are worthy of long-term preservation and we reserve the right to remove from our systems any digital objects which we do not consider worth keeping or are a threat to our systems. We will not offer them back to you.

File formats

Preferred deposit format

If possible please supply your data in one of the following preservation-ready formats.


  • PDF/A: Portable Document Format (Archival; ISO 19005-1 compliant)
  • ODT: OpenDocument Text Document
  • XML: Extensible Markup Language (preferably as TEI)
  • TXT: Plain Text File (ANSI or UTF-8 encoded)


  • ODP: OpenDocument Presentation
  • PDF/A: Portable Document Format (Archival; ISO 19005-1 compliant)

Image (Raster)

  • TIFF: Uncompressed Baseline Tagged Image File Format v.6 (no compression)
  • PNG: Portable Network Graphics (lossless compression)
  • JPEG 2000 (JP2): Joint Photographic Experts Group 2 (lossless compression)

Image (Vector)

  • SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics File


  • TXT: Tab delimited text file (with first line as column headings)
  • ODS: OpenDocument Spreadsheet


  • WAV: Broadcast Wave Format


  • MP4: Moving Picture Experts Group (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High 4:4:4 Predictive Profile lossless coding)

3D Graphics

  • OBJ: Wavefront Object files
  • WRL, WRZ: Virtual Reality Modeling Language


  • CSV: Comma Separated Values File (with first line as column headings)
  • SIARD: Software Independent Archiving of Relational Databases (open XML format)
  • MySQL SQL: Structured Query Language File
  • TXT: Plain Text File (ANSI or UTF-8 encoded) (with first line as column headings)

Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

  • e00: ESRI ArcInfo export (also known as ArcInfo Interchange File Format)


  • EML: Electronic Mail Format
  • MBOX: MBOX Email Format MBOX only, not sub-types)

Accepted deposit format

We can accept these formats for conversion to preservation copies but there may be some loss of information, formatting or structure.


  • DOCX: MS Word Open XML Document (created in MS Office 2007 and above)
  • DOC: MS Word Document (created in MS Office)
  • PDF/A: Portable Document Format (Archival; ISO 19005-3 compliant, but with all embedded documents declared before deposit)
  • RTF: Rich Text Format File


  • PPTX: MS PowerPoint Open XML Document (created in MS Office 2007 and above)
  • PPT: MS PowerPoint (created in MS Office)

Image (Raster)

  • TIFF: Uncompressed Baseline Tagged Image File Format before version 6 (no LZW compression)
  • GIF: Graphic Interchange Format

Image (Vector)

  • JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group (lossless compression)


  • CSV: Comma Separated Values File (with first line as column headings)
  • XLSX: MS Excel Open XML Document (created in MS Office 2007 and above)
  • XLS: MS Excel Spreadsheet (created in MS Office)


  • WAV: Waveform Audio File Format
  • AIFF: Audio Interchange File Format
  • MP3: Moving Picture Experts Group Layer 3 compression
  • AAC: Advanced Audio Coding File Format
  • WMA: Windows Media Audio File Format


  • MPEG-1/2: Moving Picture Experts Group
  • AVI: Audio Video Interleave File (uncompressed)
  • MOV: Quicktime Movie (uncompressed)
  • MP4: Moving Picture Experts Group (with H.264 encoding)
  • MJ2: Motion JPEG 2000
  • DV: Digital Video File (non-proprietary)


  • MDB, LDB: MS Access Database Files

Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

  • POI , LIN and POL and TXT: ESRI ArcInfo Ungenerate
  • SHP, SHX, DBF, SBN and SBX, FBN and FBX, AIN and AIH, PRJ, XML: ESRI ArcView
  • MIF, MID: MapInfo Interchange Format
  • DDF: Spatial Data Transfer Standard
  • EXP: Map Overlay Statistical System
  • VPF: Vector Product Format


  • MSG: Microsoft Outlook Email Message Format
  • PST: Microsoft Outlook 2003 Personal Folders File (Unicode)

*If your deposit comprises solely of audio-visual records you should consult a specialist repository such as the East Anglian Film Archive (opens new window). Moving images forming part of a wider accession may be accepted by the NRO.

Other file formats

If you use formats not mentioned above please contact us to discuss options before deposit.

Compiling a list of files for transfer

It is possible to manually compile a list of your files but there are ways of making the computer do the work.


DROID stands for Digital Record Object Identification. It is a software tool developed by The National Archives (TNA). You can download DROID from The National Archives website (opens new window) for free.

It will automatically profile a wide range of digital files and list their filepath, filename, format, version, age, size, and date last modified.

Use the Command line

The instructions below will create a file called filelist.txt in the current directory; forward a copy to the NRO.

For Windows users:

  • Open the Command Prompt. Find the highest level directory of the items for deposit and type dir *.* /s/w>filelist.txt

For Mac users:

  • Open the Teminal in the /Applications/Utilities/ folder. Find the highest level directory of the items for deposit and type ls -l>filelist.txt

For Linux users:

  • Open the Teminal and find the highest level directory of the items for deposit and type ls -l>filelist.txt