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Information about using UVic's Learning & Research Repository - UVicSpace

Format support

We wish to provide support for as many file formats as possible. Over time, items stored in UVicSpace will be preserved as is, using a combination of time-honored techniques for data management and best practices for digital preservation. As for specific formats, however, the proprietary nature of many file types makes it impossible to guarantee preservation. Put simply, our policy for file formats is:

  • Everything in UVicSpace will be retrievable.
  • We will recognize as many file formats as possible.
  • We will support as many known file formats as possible.

When a file is uploaded, we assign it one of the following categories:

  • Supported: we fully support the format.
  • Known: we can recognize the format, but cannot guarantee full support.
  • Unsupported: we cannot recognize a format; these will be listed as "application/octet-stream," aka, Unknown.

By "support" we mean "make usable in the future, using whatever combination of techniques (such as migration, emulation, etc.) is appropriate given the context of need." For supported formats, we might choose to bulk-transform files from a current format version to a future one, for instance. Because we can't predict which services will be necessary in the future, we continually monitor formats and techniques to ensure we can accommodate needs as they arise.

In the meantime, we can choose to support a format if we can gather enough documentation to capture how the format works. In particular, we collect file specifications, descriptions and code samples and make those available in the UVicSpace Format Reference Collection below. Unfortunately, this means that proprietary formats with nonpublic materials cannot be supported in UVicSpace.

We will still preserve these files, however, and in cases where such formats are native to tools supported by UVicSpace, we will provide you with guidance on converting your files into formats we do support. It is also likely that the popularity of some proprietary formats (such as Microsoft .doc, .xls, and .ppt) will ensure their continued prevalence or at least the tools to convert such formats to new ones. Even so, we cannot guarantee this level of service, so we will still list these formats as "known," not "supported."

What if my format isn't recognized?:

We understand that there are always more formats to consider, and we would appreciate your help in identifying and studying the suitability of support for formats you care about. If we can't identify a format, UVicSpace will record it as "unknown," aka, "application/octet-stream," but we would like to keep the percentage of supported format materials in UVicSpace as high as possible. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

UVicSpace format reference collection:

In the table below, description is what most people use as the name for the format. Extensions are typical file name extensions (the part after the dot, e.g., the extension for "index.html" is "html"). These are not case-sensitive in UVicSpace, so either "sample.XML" or "sample.xml" will be recognized as XML. MIME type is the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) type identifier.



MIME type


MARC asd application/marc supported
Mathematica ma application/mathematica known
Microsoft Word doc application/msword known
Unknown (anything not listed application/octet-stream unsupported
Adobe PDF pdf application/pdf supported
Postscript ps, eps, ai application/postscript supported
SGML sgm, sgml application/sgml known
Microsoft Excel xls application/ known
Microsoft Powerpoint ppt application/ known
Microsoft Project mpp, mpx, mpd application/ known
Microsfot Visio vsd application/vnd.visio known
WordPerfect wpd application/wordperfect5.1 known
TeXdvi dvi application/x-dvi known
FMP3 fm application/x-filemaker known
LateX latex application/x-latex known
Photoshop psd, pdd application/x-photoshop known
TeX tex application/x-tex known
AIFF aiff, aif, aifc audio/x-aiff supported
audio/basic au, snd audio/basic known
MPEG Audio mpa, abs, mpeg audio/x-mpeg known
RealAudio ra, ram audio/x-pn-realaudio known
WAV wav audio/x-wav known
GIF gif image/gif supported
JPEG jpeg, jpg image/jpeg supported
PNG png image/png supported
TIFF tiff, tif image/tiff supported
BMP bmp image/x-ms-bmp known
Photo CD pcd image/x-photo-cd known
HTML html, htm text/html supported
Text txt text/plain supported
Rich Text Format rtf text/richtext supported
XML xml text/xml supported
MPEG mpeg, mpg, mpe video/mpeg known
Video Quicktime mov, qt video/quicktime known

Privacy policy

The University of Victoria collects, uses, discloses, and retains personal information pursuant to British Columbia's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

UVicSpace collects personal information from:

  • Users involved in the submission of UVicSpace content and metadata.
  • Users who subscribe to the UVicSpace alerting service.

For further information about UVicSpace and this policy, please contact UVicSpace staff.


Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this web site (UVicSpace), the University of Victoria does not and cannot guarantee its accuracy. Anyone using the information on this site does so at his or her own risk; any loss arising from the use of information on this website is the sole responsibility of the user.

The University of Victoria will not be responsible for any injury or damage arising from its use. Use of UVicSpace is subject to the Terms and Conditions for use of official University of Victoria web sites.

Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.