Federal Agencies
Digital Guidelines Initiative

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This site is a collaborative effort by federal agencies formed as a group in 2007 to articulate a common sustainable set of technical guidelines, methods, and practices for digitized and born digital historical, archival and cultural content.

Recognizing that the effort would require specialized expertise, two separate working groups were formed with the possibility that more tightly focused groups might be necessary as the work progressed. The Still Image Working Group concentrates its efforts on image content such as books, manuscripts, maps, and photographic prints and negatives. The Audio-Visual Working Group focuses its work on sound, video, and motion picture film.

While the Working Groups have focused on digitized content, recent projects have broadened the scope to include selected aspects of born digital content. Long known as FADGI, the acronym’s meaning was updated in 2017 from Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative to the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative to reflect this growing area of work.

The participating agencies share the belief that common guidelines will enhance the exchange of research results and developments, encourage collaborative practices and projects for digital material among federal agencies and institutions and provide the public with a product of uniform quality. They will also serve to set common benchmarks for service providers and manufacturers.

To learn more about the impact of FADGI work within the Library of Congress and elsewhere, see the frequently updated summary chart.

The agencies involved in this initiative also share a common philosophical approach to developing technical guidelines; namely that:

  • guidelines should be based on clearly articulated objectives;
  • methodologies and requirements should be based on recognized approved standards or empirical data to the extent possible;
  • the efforts undertaken through this federal initiative be conducted in a transparent manner, sharing not only conclusions but the approach and reasoning;
  • the participating members actively seek input from the public, governmental and academic institutions, as well as corporate entities and trade organizations.

Federal agency participation is voluntary and non-binding. Participants are expected to provide input, share information and resources (when possible), and provide their opinions on priorities, methodology of the initiative, and approval or disapproval of draft guidelines, and respond to external recommendations or queries. Adherence by the participating agencies to the guidelines developed under this initiative is not required, nor is it expected to be practical under all circumstances. It is expected that participating agencies make a good faith effort to translate the guidelines into standard operating procedures and performance criteria for contracted services or purchases.


All United States federal agencies and institutions involved in the creation or collection of digitized or born digital content of a cultural, historical or archival nature are welcome to participate.

Working Groups

Still Image Working Group
This group is involved in a cooperative effort to develop common digitization guidelines for still image materials.

Audio-Visual Working Group
This group works collaboratively on common and sustainable technical guidelines, methods, and practices for digitized and born digital sound recordings and moving images.

Last Updated: 01/03/2017