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eCommons Support

Cornell University Library Support for eCommons

The University Library provides a range of services that support the long-term preservation and access to digital content.

User Support

The Library operates an eCommons user support service for answering questions about eCommons. We can be contacted by going to


The Library can offer consulting on topics related to digital preservation and access, including:

  • Digitization: options for converting analog materials to digital format, recommended procedures, and cost estimates.
  • File formats: which formats have a high "preservation support level" in eCommons and whether it is possible to convert existing files to these formats. See Recommended File Formats for eCommons.
  • Author's rights and copyright: how to determine whether an author has the rights to deposit her/his work in eCommons, and how to secure these rights.
  • eCommons Collections: consult with those responsible for eCommons Collections on rights and responsibilities of Collections and how to create effective and flexible workflows.

To request additional information about these topics, please contact Digital Consulting and Production Services. Fees may apply.

Digitization and content preparation, for submission to eCommons

The University Library may be able to help you prepare content for submission to eCommons. The Library offers various services for preparing and submitting content to eCommons. This includes digitization, metadata generation, file conversion, and batch submission processes. Please contact Digital Consulting and Production Services. Fees may apply.


At this time, the Library discourages requests for customized interface access methods to content within eCommons. This includes customized browse lists and other specialized entry points into eCommons that need to be maintained by eCommons staff.

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Preservation Support Policy

See the Preservation Support Policy under eCommons Policies.

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Collections and Collection Administration

See the description of Collections and Collection Administration under eCommons Rights and Responsibilities.

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Recommended File Formats for eCommons

eCommons can accept many electronic file formats. As stated in the eCommons Preservation Support Policy, the University Library is committed to preserving the binary form of the digital object of content deposited in eCommons. As resources permit, the Library will also take further measures to preserve as much functionality ("look and feel") of the original content as possible.

The long-term preservation of the complete and original functionality of certain file formats, however, may not be practical or possible. Research and experience has shown that the likelihood of successful long-term preservation of content is much higher when file formats possess the following characteristics:

  • complete and open documentation
  • platform-independence
  • non-proprietary (vendor-independent)
  • no "lossy" or proprietary compression
  • no embedded files, programs or scripts
  • no full or partial encryption
  • no password protection

Below is a table of file formats. Those formats in the second column exhibit the characteristics above and thus have a high probability of full preservation. Those in the right-hand column have a low probability of being fully preserved over time. Those formats in the middle are preferred over their counterparts in the right-hand column, but assurance of their long-term preservation is not as high as the left-hand column.

It is recommended that those depositing content in eCommons use formats in the left-hand column if at all possible, and consider methods for converting files with low probability to formats with higher probability.

For help in accessing where your digital content falls within this table, or consulting about strategies for converting files from one format to another, please contact the Library's Digital Consulting and Production Services.

Media High probability for full long-term preservation Medium probability for full long-term preservation Low probability for full long-term preservation
Text • Plain text (encoding: USASCII, UTF-8, UTF-16 with BOM)
• XML (includes XSD/XSL/XHTML, etc.; with included or accessible schema)
• PDF/A-1 (ISO 19005-1) (*.pdf)
• Cascading Style Sheets (*.css)
• DTD (*.dtd)
• Plain text (ISO 8859-1 encoding
• PDF (*.pdf) (embedded fonts)
• Rich Text Format 1.x (*.rtf)
• HTML (include a DOCTYPE declaration)
• SGML (*.sgml)
• Open Office (*.sxw/*.odt)
• OOXML (ISO/IEC DIS 29500) (*.docx)
• PDF (*.pdf) (encrypted)
• Microsoft Word (*.doc)
• WordPerfect (*.wpd)
• DVI (*.dvi)
• All other text formats not listed here
Raster Image • TIFF (uncompressed)
• JPEG2000 (lossless) (*.jp2)
• PNG (*.png)
• BMP (*.bmp)
• JPEG/JFIF (*.jpg)
• JPEG2000 (lossy) (*.jp2)
• TIFF (compressed)
• GIF (*.gif)
• Digital Negative DNG (*.dng)
• MrSID (*.sid)
• TIFF (in Planar format)
• FlashPix (*.fpx)
• PhotoShop (*.psd)
• JPEG 2000 Part 2 (*.jpf, *.jpx)
• All other raster image formats not listed here
Vector Graphics • SVG (no Java script binding) (*.svg) • Computer Graphic Metafile (CGM, WebCGM) (*.cgm) • Encapsulated Postscript (EPS)
• Macromedia Flash (*.swf)
• All other vector image formats not listed here
Audio • AIFF (PCM) (*.aif, *.aiff)
• WAV (PCM) (*.wav)
• SUN Audio (uncompressed) (*.au)
• Standard MIDI (*.mid, *.midi)
• Ogg Vorbis (*.ogg)
• Free Lossless Audio Codec (*.flac)
• Advance Audio Coding (*.mp4, *.m4a, *.aac)
• MP3 (MPEG-1/2, Layer 3) (*.mp3)
• AIFC (compressed) (*.aifc)
• NeXT SND (*.snd)
• RealNetworks 'Real Audio' (*.ra, *.rm, *.ram)
• Windows Media Audio (*.wma)
• Protected AAC (*.m4p)
• WAV (compressed) (*.wav)
• All other audio formats not listed here
Video • Motion JPEG 2000 (ISO/IEC 15444-4)??*.mj2)
• AVI (uncompressed, motion JPEG) (*.avi)
• QuickTime Movie (uncompressed, motion JPEG) (*.mov)
• Ogg Theora (*.ogg)
• MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (*.mpg, *.mpeg, wrapped in AVI, MOV)
• MPEG-4 (H.263, H.264) (*.mp4, wrapped in AVI, MOV)
• AVI (others) (*.avi)
• QuickTime Movie (others) (*.mov)
• RealNetworks 'Real Video' (*.rv)
• Windows Media Video (*.wmv)
• All other video formats not listed here
Spreadsheet/ Database • Comma Separated Values (*.csv)
• Delimited Text (*.txt)
• DBF (*.dbf)
• OpenOffice (*.sxc/*.ods)
• OOXML (ISO/IEC DIS 29500) (*.xlsx)
• Excel (*.xls)
• All other spreadsheet/ database formats not listed here
Virtual Reality • X3D (*.x3d) • VRML (*.wrl, *.vrml)
• U3D (Universal 3D file format)
• All other virtual reality formats not listed here
Computer Programs • Computer program source code, uncompiled (*.c, *.c++, *.java, *.js, *.jsp, *.php, *.pl, etc.)   • Compiled / Executable files (EXE, *.class, COM, DLL, BIN, DRV, OVL, SYS, PIF)
Presentation   • OpenOffice (*.sxi/*.odp)
• OOXML (ISO/IEC DIS 29500) (*.pptx)
• PowerPoint (*.ppt)
• All other presentation formats not listed here

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