JHOVE (Harvard Object Validation Environment)

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JHOVE (Harvard Object Validation Environment)
JHOVE provides functions to perform format-specific identification, validation, and characterization of digital objects.
License:GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
Platforms:JHOVE should be usable on any UNIX, Windows, or OS X platform with an appropriate J2SE installation. It should run on any operating system that supports Java 1.5 and has a directory-based file system.
Input Formats:EPUB, GIF, JP2, JPEG, PDF, PNG, PREMIS (Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies), TIFF, WARC, XML, AIFF, WAVE, GZIP, ASCII, UTF-8, HTML, MP3
Function:Encryption Detection,File Format Identification,Metadata Extraction,Validation
Appears in COW:Digital archiving workflow (high-level)

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JHOVE allows data curators to verify the file formats of the digital objects in their repositories. The analysis consists of three functions: identification, which determines the object’s format; validation, which checks whether the object conforms to its format’s technical norms; and characterization, which gives a report of the object’s salient properties. Detailed information can be found in the DCC JHOVE Case Study.


Open Preservation Foundation

Licensing and cost[edit]

GNU Lesser General Public License – free.

Platform and interoperability[edit]

JHOVE is implemented using Java 2 Standard Edition 5.0 (JDK 1.5). It was designed incorporating an API, which can be used on its own to create compatible tools and applications. Developers wishing to recompile the JHOVE source code will require Apache Ant.

Functional notes[edit]

JHOVE includes modules for the following 12 format types: AIFF; ASCII encoded text; GIF; HTML; JPEG; JPEG2000; PDF; TIFF; UTF-8 encoded text; WAVE; XML; and arbitrary bytestreams. Three of these formats (AIFF, GIF and JPEG) will not be supported by JHOVE2, while a further two (JPEG2000 and PDF) are not currently supported by JHOVE2 but may be in future. HTML is not directly supported by JHOVE2 but can be processed either as SGML or XML. A number of limitations have come to light since JHOVE was first released, many of which are addressed with the JHOVE2 project. Currently, identification and validation are linked, with successful identification dependent on the validation process.  This means that any trivial error in the validation process can result in an object failing to be identified. In addition, JHOVE cannot analyze objects that are comprised of multiple file formats. Developers have also remarked that working with the API is difficult.

Documentation and user support[edit]

The JHOVE website includes an excellent introduction and tutorial. It also provides detailed specifications for its modules. The SourceForge code repository includes a forum, which seems to be used only sporadically. It also hosts a mailing list and the usual facilities for filing bug reports, feature requests and support requests.


While installation and configuration can be complex, the Swing-based GUI allows for relatively easy use. JHOVE can also be invoked with a command-line interface.

Expertise required[edit]

Installation requires solid knowledge of command line interfaces and experience with manually editing configuration files. Familiarity with metadata outputs is also essential.

Standards compliance[edit]

JHOVE was designed to integrate into the Ingest function of an OAIS. The validation process compares objects’ formats against ISO standards.

Influence and take-up[edit]

The SourceForge website reports approximately 11,400 downloads from the release of JHOVE 1.1 from 2008 to July 2013. Use of JHOVE is widespread in the digital preservation community. JHOVE is integrated within the Planets Testbed and Plato.

User Experiences[edit]

Development Activity[edit]

While much of its development effort has been diverted to JHOVE2, JHOVE is still actively maintained and developed by the OPF [1] as it supports some common formats that JHOVE2 does not.

All development activity is visible on GitHub: http://github.com/openpreserve/jhove/commits

Release Feed[edit]

Below the last 3 release feeds:

2024-06-06 13:06:36
[tag:github.com,2008:Repository/17627031/v1.30.0 JHOVE v1.30.0]
by carlwilson
2024-03-06 12:05:58
[tag:github.com,2008:Repository/17627031/v1.30.0-RC1 JHOVE v1.30.0-RC]
by carlwilson
2023-05-19 09:42:38
[tag:github.com,2008:Repository/17627031/v1.28.0 JHOVE v1.28.0]
by carlwilson

Activity Feed[edit]

Below the last 5 activity feeds:

2023-06-13 20:30:29
[tag:github.com,2008:Grit::Commit/c1db6d76fff02470d012909ee15b1a969a5e7422 Merge pull request #868 from openpreserve/integration]
by carlwilson https://github.com/carlwilson
2023-06-13 14:48:30
[tag:github.com,2008:Grit::Commit/4de57cb57e475b967cb72829c5891bc50bec9d5f Merge branch 'master' into integration]
by carlwilson https://github.com/carlwilson
2023-06-13 14:46:37
[tag:github.com,2008:Grit::Commit/9ea6b574ba27833114bb301b50b75012699fd8d4 Merge pull request #867 from openpreserve/rel/1.28]
by carlwilson https://github.com/carlwilson
2023-06-13 12:00:23
[tag:github.com,2008:Grit::Commit/6148822c46667e40b3c874ef22ddd36a7996f3b8 Merge branch 'integration' into rel/1.28]
by carlwilson https://github.com/carlwilson
2023-05-19 09:39:07
[tag:github.com,2008:Grit::Commit/bf3bf38a610e07b2b429fe24ae5744e85ed2264d REL: Updated release notes]
by carlwilson https://github.com/carlwilson

About Formats[edit]

JHOVE do only read the format itself, not the spesification as such