TrID as a Processing Tool

On March 27, 2013, in Software Reviews, by Bethany Anderson

Filename extensions can tell us much about electronic records and their use; we learn not only a file’s format, but also something about the environment in which it was created and the way it stores data. Knowing these pieces of information provide us with important metadata that enable us to begin assessing genres, providing an entryway into the appraisal as well as the arrangement and description of electronic content.

Many reasons exist, however, for why files may wend their way into repositories without file extensions. Considering divergent file-naming practices over time and changes in the ways software renders extensions, as well as the multitude of events that corrupt or irrevocably alter files during the course of their lives, it is no surprise that file extensions are either missing or a vestige of a file-naming convention that has long since been superseded. Without file extensions, the file has lost a portion of what the OAIS reference model calls its “representation information” (the data the computer needs to render the file by opening it in the proper piece of software). Being able to recover such information with a file identifying utility is vital to providing access to electronic content.

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