FITS (File Information Tool Set)
The File Information Tool Set (FITS) identifies, validates and extracts technical metadata for a wide range of file formats. It acts as a wrapper, invoking and managing the output from several other open source tools. Output from these tools are converted into a common format, compared to one another and consolidated into a single XML output file.
Platform and interoperability
FITS is written in Java and is compatible with Java 1.7 or higher. The tools used in version 1.3.0 of FITS are:
- ADL Tool
- Apache Tika
- FFIdent (no longer maintained)
- [File Utility (windows port)
- [[Metadata_Extraction_Tool] National Library of New Zealand Metadata Extractor]
- OIS Audio Information
- OIS File Information
- OIS XML Information
Instructions for command line use are given for Windows and Unix.
FITS acts as a wrapper, invoking and managing the output from several other open source tools. Output from these tools are converted into a common format, compared to one another and consolidated into a single XML output file. Technical metadata is only output (and a part of the consolidation process) for tools that were able to identify the file. All other output is discarded.
Documentation and user support
Documentation exists in the form of a user manual and more technical developer manual. The project actively uses the fits-users google group has 78 (Sept. 24, 2018) members, and is active as of January 2012. The FITS web site links to a github site that includes the source code and an issues tracker.
FITS uses a command line interface; it is designed to be integrated into other software workflows, and so is aimed at those with application design experience. In January 2016, version 1.0.0 of the FITS web service was released, giving the ability to deploy FITS as a service.
Installation and configuration require deep systems administration and application design knowledge, as well as familiarity with file format and metadata standards.
Influence and take-up
The FITS website shows over 2000 downloads of the software. The tool was designed for and is in use at the Harvard Library Digital Repository Service.
- National Archives of the Netherlands:
- How FITS supports pre-ingest impact assessments at the National Archives of the Netherlands.
- DNB (German National Library):
- FITS v0.6.1 with modified Jhove 1.11, Gentoo Linux, Java-Environment, Tomcat-Application Server
- Since the end of 2012, DNB uses the FITS library as a part of its risk management within the automated ingest process. At present more than 1500 files are daily examined by FITS.
- ZBW (German National Library of Economics): Link to the user experience of the ZBW
FITS 0.2.0 was first released as open source in July 2009. As of April 2014 the latest release was version 0.8, released in January 2014. The tool was created to be used in Harvard's Digital Repository Service, and development is active and ongoing.
All development activity is visible on GitHub: http://github.com/harvard-lts/fits/commits
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