Digital Preservation Tutorial: Timeline

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view allgeneral developmentsprotocols and formatsnetworkshardware and softwaremediacrisis and obsolescenceorganizational response
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bullet.gif US libraries begin using MAchine Readable Cataloging (MARC) records. MARC

bullet.gif Generalized Markup Language (GML) is introduced.

bullet.gif The first "Requests for Comments" (RFC) proposed to standardize the transfer of information across the ARPA network.


bullet.gif File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is first proposed.

bullet.gif Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) specification is published.

bullet.gif First appearance of an interpreted BASIC programming language.


bullet.gifDigital faxes using uniform data standards appear.

bullet.gif The TELNET protocol is specified, allowing command line login sessions between hosts.


bullet.gif ARPANET shifts to TCP/IP.

bullet.gif The National Information Systems Task Force (NISTF) develops the first two formally recognized archival description standards in the US: NISTF Data Elements Dictionary and USMARC AMC.


bullet.gifLZW image compression algorithm is developed and is adopted for compression of modem communications and TIFF, GIF, PDF, Zip, and Postscript files. Belated assertion of the LZW patent in GIF files leads to the development of the PNG image file format in 1995.


bullet.gif Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) standard is published.

bullet.gif Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is developed by Aldus.


bullet.gif The GIF graphics image format is introduced by CompuServe.


File typesbullet.gif Proprietary file formats proliferate. Competing word processing software and file formats lead to rapid obsolescence.

bullet.gifZ39.50 becomes the international standard defining a protocol for computer-to-computer information retrieval. Z39.50 makes it possible for a user to search and retrieve information from other computer systems without knowing the search syntax used by those other systems.


bullet.gifTEI P1 "Guidelines for the Encoding and Interchange of Machine Readable Texts" are published..


bullet.gif Wide Area Information Server (WAIS) protocol is introduced, allowing collections of indexed data to be retrieved by searches.

bullet.gif HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) initial draft.

Gopherbullet.gifGopher, a distributed document search and retrieval network protocol, is released.

bullet.gifJPEG still picture compression standard introduced.


bullet.gif Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) protocol proposed.

bullet.gifMPEG 1 standard is published.


bullet.gif The HTML 1.0 standard is published.


bullet.gif World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is established to develop common WWW protocols.


bullet.gif HTML 2.0, the first formal HTML standard is published.

bullet.gif Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) 1.0 is introduced.
bullet.gifDublin Core Metadata Initiative originates.Dublin Core logo
bullet.gif QuickTime 2.0 is introduced.

bullet.gif RealAudio is introduced.


bullet.gifPNG 1.0 image format approved as a W3C Recommendation.


bullet.gifMPEG-4 compression standard is released.

bullet.gif HTML 4.0 is released.

bullet.gif Extensible Markup Language (XML) standard is created.

bullet.gif MP-3 players for downloaded Internet audio appear.

bullet.gif Encoded Archival Description (EAD) Version 1.0 is introduced.

bullet.gif HTTP 1.1 is released.

bullet.gif Resource Description Framework (RDF) is introduced. RDF is intended to provide metadata interoperability across different communities.


bullet.gifXHTML 1.0 (transition to XML) becomes a Web standard.

bullet.gif Part one of JPEG 2000 is accepted as a full international standard.


bullet.gif Work begins on the MPEG 21 standard.

bullet.gifMETS 1.1 schema is introduced as an XML standard for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata within a digital library.


bullet.gifEAD Version 2002 becomes available.

bullet.gifMPEG 7 standard for description and search of audio and visual content is released.

bullet.gif QuickTime 6.0 is released.

bullet.gif National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images standards released.

bullet.gif An initiative known as PDF/A is undertaken to develop an international standard that defines the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF) for archiving and preserving documents.


bullet.gif The US patent on the LZW compression algorithm expires, ending restrictions on the use of GIF files. Despite its technical superiority and status as an international standard, PNG has not displaced GIF as the preferred file format for lossless color images on the Web.

  bullet.gif The International Organization for Standardization iso publishes: ISO 15836:2003, Information and Documentation, the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set.

ASPRThe National Library of Australia and the Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories develop AONS, a system which automatically monitors the file formats of digital resources in a repository.

Harvard University Library and OCLC join forces to open the GDFR, providing distributed services to store, discover, and deliver representation information about digital formats.
Global Digital Format Registry


PREMIS Data Dictionary v.2 (PDF) is released and maintained by the Library of Congress. Premis


The UDFR, a format registry that will eventually merge PRONOM and the Global Digital Format Registry, is announced.