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JHOVE2: characterization matters

JHOVE is software used by most digital libraries and repositories to help manage their collections of digital files. First released in 2005, it quickly became an indispensible tool for format characterization and validation. In simple terms, people use JHOVE to know what kind of digital files they have, and whether those files are valid. Sounds simple, but if you manage millions of files, or have a single file that doesn’t open properly, it is critical information.

As people have used it over the past five years, they have proposed many improvements. Three organizations have partnered to develop the next generation tool, JHOVE2. The California Digital Library, Portico and Stanford University were awarded a grant in 2008 from the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) at the Library of Congress, and have been working the past 18 months on the project. There is now a beta prototype of the software available on the project wiki.

The production release of JHOVE2 is scheduled for September 2010, and we’re starting to think about how to maintain the software into the future. The JHOVE2 software will be available as free and open source software, with the 3 partnering institutions continuing to provide support, maintenance, training and documentation. At the same time, we’re planning for how to sustain and expand into the future. As part of this planning, we have an online survey:

Please take a few minutes and take the survey; your answers will help us determine the most effective ways of providing training and support. For more information on the JHOVE2 project, see the project wiki (