26 September 2008

A Victory (of Sorts) for e-Petitions

It's easy to be cynical about 10 Downing Street's e-petitions (I should know). But here's a case where it might even have done some good.

Thank you for your e-petition, which asks that The National Archives convert its electronic records to Open Document Format rather than Microsoft Open XML Format, in order to make them accessible to users.

The National Archives is committed to preserving electronic records that are both authentic, and easily accessible by users. Wherever possible, records are made available online in a format which can be accessed using any standard web browser. Electronic records transferred to The National Archives are always preserved in their native format; if the native format is not suitable for online access then a separate ‘presentation’ version is created. No single format can address the diversity of electronic records held by The National Archives. At present, documents transferred in Microsoft Office formats are converted to Portable Document Format for online access. PDF is an international standard (ISO 32000-1: 2008) and is supported by all major browsers, either natively or via freely available plug-ins. The National Archives does not currently plan to convert any records to Microsoft Office Open XML format.

It's the last bit that's important: there were rumours circulating that some dark deal was being done to lock up the Archives in OOXML. For the moment we seem safe....


Anonymous said...

Why petition our leaders? Why not get rid of them?

Glyn Moody said...

Interesting - thanks.