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Help & guidance Guides to Good Practice

General considerations

Kieron Niven, Archaeology Data Service / Digital Antiquity, Guides to Good Practice

Text files and documents are generally a component of a larger archive and often themselves document the project planning and requirements of a larger project. While little project planning in itself is required for the creation of a word processed document, there are a few considerations that should be borne in mind when creating these files:

  • As previously discussed, ensure that embedded content such as images and spreadsheets are stored separately to the document. In addition to allowing such content to be securely stored in its native or archival format, separately storing such files also allows them to remain in their original size or resolution.
  • Avoid including external links or dynamic content in documents as these links may be lost over time.
  • If intending to save the final version of a document to PDF, ensure that the original format (e.g. Word .doc, OpenOffice .odt, etc.) is retained separately.
  • Additionally, if saving to PDF, ensure that the file conforms to preferably PDF/A or PDF 1.4 standards. This includes making sure that the file is not secured, includes no javascript, video or audio content or compression and that all fonts and images are correctly embedded and that the file is correctly ‘tagged’.

A more general consideration would be that creators should ensure, where possible, that the content of a document is complete and self explanatory.