Why does file format matter?
Choosing the right file format is important for two main reasons: sustainability and preservation. We want to provide long term access to knowledge and research, which we can only do if files can be opened and read by a multitude of programs many years after publishing, and that those files have a lower risk of digital degradation or data loss over time.
What are the recommended file types?
For spreadsheets or databases:
For videos, please include captions for accessibility. Also providing a transcript of the video as a supplemental file in TRACE is highly recommended for both preservation and accessibility purposes.
For other file types, please visit this LibGuide from the University of Minnesota, which has the same file requirements as TRACE.
When creating a document in Microsoft Office or similar office productivity software, make sure to embed the author (sometimes done automatically) and document title into the document properties. In Microsoft, this can be done by going to the File menu and Info screen.
If images are embedded into your document, right-click on each image and select Alt Text. Provide a brief description of the image. This allows individuals using vision-assistance screen readers to understand the context of the image. To write alt text that is helpful, follow these simple guidelines.
Save for Access and Preservation
To properly convert to PDF, click Save As, not ‘Save as Adobe PDF.’
Change the Save as type to PDF (*.pdf).
Click the Options… button and check the boxes next to Document structure tags for accessibility and PDF/A compliant (as shown below)
Adobe Acrobat DC