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File Format Recommendations for Supplemental Files

Some file formats will be difficult or impossible to use in the future. The file formats with the best chance of survival have open specifications, are high quality, and are in relatively wide use. Ensuring these formats can be accessed or read in the future is key to their long-term preservation.

The University Libraries manages Arch, a digital repository. You can use this service to deposit any supplemental files you created for your dissertation research that you’d like to make available to the public, including data, code, figures, presentations, and media.

  1. Log in to Arch with your NetID
  2. Create a Work to contain your supplemental files (one Work can have many files)
  3. Describe and upload your files (including any README files to assist others)
  4. Reference these files in your dissertation using the DOI that Arch assigns to your deposit.

Please follow these recommendations when making format choices. Also, make sure the format is an uncompressed version, highest quality compressed version, or the final production version. This will help maximize potential for long term preservation and accessibility.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to provide a single list of file formats that are appropriate for all use cases, but this list is a good starting point. Please exercise caution when using proprietary formats and digital rights management (DRM) software that may make viewing content difficult or impossible to access in the future. If you have any questions, please email the University Libraries at Your question will be routed to staff with the appropriate staff to help you.

Simplified Guidelines/File Format Recommendations