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Recommendation for Format of Archived Documents

Committee on Information Technology

Adopted by the CIT November 28, 2000

Many documents are now being archived on university web pages in proprietary formats such as Microsoft Word. Such formats already present considerable problems for people that do not use Word or Windows. Further, we anticipate significant problems in reading these documents in the future, when such software may be less popular, out of production, or just incompatible with current versions. We fear that the large amount of information currently online will become increasingly difficult to view as time passes.

The Committee on Information Technology strongly urges the use of standard, non-proprietary formats for information archived online.

The preferred formats are HTML (the language of web pages) and ASCII (plain text). We expect these formats to be easily readable on all popular platforms for many decades.

The Committee recognizes the value of proprietary formats for online forms. This data is transient, and the form is only used to transport information about campus. The Committee supports the use of Word, Excel, etc., for such purposes. However, when such data is compiled and archived online, it should be converted to HTML or ASCII.

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