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1 Overview

An archival format must be utterly portable and self-describing, on the assumption that, apart from the transcription device, neither the software nor the hardware that wrote the data will be available when the data are read. ``Preserving Scientific Data on our Physical Universe,'' p. 60. Steering Committee for the Study on the Long-Term Retention of Selected Scientific and Technical Records of the Federal Government, [US] National Research Council, National Academy Press 1995.