The Archive eXchange Format (AXF) standard is an encapsulation format for generic file-based content which allows them to be stored, transported and preserved on any type of operating system, file system, storage media or technology. 

AXF provides a physical implementation of an object store and was developed to address the need for a long-term open storage and preservation format and overcome the limitations in legacy container formats such as Tape ARchive (TAR). AXF technology abstracts the underlying file and operating system technology facilitating long-term portability and accessibility to the files contained in the container while adding several Open Archive Information Systems (OAIS) preservation characteristics to provide long-term protection for file-based assets.  AXF defines the specific method for encapsulation of file-based collections and their associated metadata as well as the mechanism for storage on media storage technology (data tape, magnetic disk, optical media, flash media, etc.).  AXF adds self-describing features to both the AXF Objects as well as the media on which they are stored, allowing independence from the systems which originally created them.  AXF provides a universal and open file-system view of all stored objects, files and metadata allowing exchange with any applications which also understand the format. 


Anyone who works with any type of file based content and needs to store, transfer, protect, preserve or access their content across various technologies can benefit from AXF. From people and companies that work within the entertainment industry who need a long–term solution for storing large volumes of big media files down to the person who just needs to transfer or store a few files with focus on future accessibility.


AXF is the worlds only published open-standard focused on transport, long-term access, protection and preservation of file-based asset collections regardless of their origin.  At a very high level, AXF provides the following benefits:

  • Protects against long-term vendor lock-in
  • Encapsulates any type, size and number of files into immutable preservation objects
  • Supports any type of storage technology, operating system and file system
  • Published open-standard allowing any user or organization to access stored AXF assets
  •  Inherent support for the pillars of OAIS including fixity, provenance, context, etc.
  • Allows embedding of metadata along with the asset payload
  • Self-describing media and self-describing objects ensure portability and accessibility
  • Scales to any size repository
  • Open read/write tools available to leverage AXF content outside of DIVArchive


YES!  In September 2014, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) announced the Archive eXchange Format (AXF) would be ratified and published as standard ST 2034-1:2014.  In August 2017, the Archive eXchange Format was also published as an ISO/IEC standard as ISO/IEC 12034-1.

How do I access the AXF Standard?

If you are a development organization, researcher or end-user interested in AXF, accessing the standard is easy.  The AXF standard document (which contains everything you need to implement or use the technology) is available for download from the following locations:

There is a small one-time administrative fee to download the AXF standard document unless you or your organization already have access to a SMPTE or ISO standards subscription.  Once you have acquired the standard document, AXF is available unencumbered which means you are free to develop, use and access AXF technologies in perpetuity as there are no ongoing license or use fees.

Are there any ongoing license fees to develop or use AXF?



Ultimately, all of these formats have their place depending on your short and long-term goals and objectives.  The following table provides some data points for consideration while planning your current and future implementations.