What is SIARD?

Developed by the Swiss Federal Archives in 2004, SIARD stands for Software Independent Archiving of Relational Databases.

SIARD is a set of tools to convert some proprietary databases into standard SQL (non-proprietary), capturing both data and schema (database structure), and storing them in a single .siard format close format Definition Indicates whether the record is physical or digital.  file. The tools also enable converting the .siard file close file Definition An accumulation of documents relating to the same subject, person, activity or transaction that are kept together.  Documents in a file are usually, but not always, fastened together.  Files are usually arranged in an identifiable sequence (e.g. numerical or alphabetical). back into some 5 proprietary database formats.

The SIARD format v1 was adopted as an eCH standard in 2013. eCH is an organisation administering Swiss eGovernment data standards. SIARD v2 of the eCH standard was drafted in 2015.

While too early to predict, SIARD or something similar, may become the standard for archiving relational databases.


SIARD tools

The SIARD tools are available for free via registration from the Swiss Federal Archive.

Built in Java, the SIARD tools will run on most computer platforms, provided a Java Runtime Environment is installed.



In 2013-14 PROV evaluated the SIARD tools and format for their use in Victoria. PROV determined that the tools work and the .siard format, based on XML, is acceptable for long-term preservation. PROV will accept transfers of records from relational databases in .siard format (as VEOs).