Interested in finding more details on a batch of files -for example during your pre-ingest processes or on a set of existing archived files where you are concerned about possible obsolescence?
There is one easy to use tool that does exactly that. DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) is an automatic file format identification tool from The National Archives which uses The National Archives’ PRONOM technical registry service
– Create a new directory wherever you want to keep DROID – I created a directory called droid-v6 under Program Files on Windows – you will want a new empty directory as DROID does not unzip nicely.
– Download DROID, currently the latest version is droid-6.01.zip, from http://droid.sourceforge.net/ to your new directory and unzip it.
– Check the ‘Running DROID.txt’ file for instructions. Currently DROID is started by the provided “droid.bat” file (for Windows) or “droid.sh” file for linux/Mac.
– This opens a simple and easy to use graphical interface with a pre-loaded empty profile. If you have already saved a collection of files for checking then click the Add button, navigate to the directory where you save the files and then click Start. Twelve minutes later I have a list including file types and version details for all of the 3,702 pdf files in that directory.
DROID is also available as a component in some repository software and other preservation tools such as JHOVE but if those are not available to you this is a tool that provides really useful information, simple to install, easy to use and has clear help instructions.