The National Archives and the world of software development are not areas that you would normally expect to collide. However, The National Archives has been liasing with a number of software houses, including Microsoft, in order to create a new free online data store of software product information called PRONOM, which was launched this month. PRONOM can be accessed on

PRONOM provides vital information for anyone who needs to preserve electronic records over the long term and aims to help with the problem of software obsolescence. It is a reliable, sustained repository and will allow users to search a rapidly-growing database of over 250 software products such as Microsoft Word, Excel and a wide range of Adobe software plus 550 file formats and 100 manufacturers. Users will also be able to request or submit new information for inclusion using an on-line form.

PRONOM is under constant development and The National Archives has detailed plans for future enhancements and development, which are described on the PRONOM website.

David Ryan, Head of Archive Services at The National Archives said:

“The National Archives is committed to preserving historic electronic records indefinitely. PRONOM provides free access to the kind of detailed, reliable technical information that is required to manage and preserve such records over time”.

Notes to Editors:

The National Archives (TNA) oversees the archiving, storage and preservation of born digital records: records that have been produced electronically - such as e-mails, databases or spreadsheets.

In March, TNA launched a new Digital Archive that will be used to store electronic government records. In September it launched the first UK Government Web Archive, which preserves a selection of government websites chosen to represent the broad functions of the government and make them available to the public free online. The National Archives have also created a PC version of BBC Domesday and made it available to use free, in the TNA library at Kew. To find out more about the work of The National Archives in the field of digital preservation go to

The National Archives, Kew, has one of the largest archival collections in the world, spanning 1000 years of British history, from Domesday Book to newly released government papers. The free museum and research rooms in Kew, west London, are open to the public 6 days a week.

For press enquiries please contact Siobhan Wakely in The National Archives Press Office on 020 8392 5277 or e-mail

Published on: 12:00AM on 12th February 2004