Audiovisual digitisation, preservation and long-term access

preservation

Register now for PrestoCentre’s Preservathon on AV Preservation Storage Solutions, taking place in Turin on 25 – 26 June 2014.

Learn to select the best storage solution for your AV archive
There is no such thing as ‘everlasting’ data storage. Digital preservation requires the indefinite, error free storage of information, together with the means for its retrieval and interpretation, irrespective of changes in technologies, support and data formats, or changes in the requirements of the user community. Any choice of storage solution, therefore, involves careful consideration, needs assessment, long-term cost evaluation and so on. Where and when do vendors become involved and what do you need to know about them and their products before you make your decision?

Target Audience
Library and archive technologists, directors of collection care and IT advisors interested in the various motivations and priorities of storage for digital audiovisual media across different domains.

Learning Objectives
After this Preservathon you:

  • Will have a better understanding of the concept of procurement and vendor rating;
  • Will be able to map organisational requirements to the market of storage solutions;
  • Will have a better understanding of functionality vs technology;
  • Will have a better understanding of costs (full costs of ownership).

The Preservathon will take place on 25-26 June at Rai “Museo della Radio”, Turin, Italy. The first day will be a hands-on workshop where teams will learn what is involved selecting the best long-term audiovisual storage solution. The second day will host a mini-conference. This Preservathon is made possible by the Presto4U project.

More information: www.prestocentre.org/events/preservathon/storage-2014

The Value of Audiovisual Archives

Try imagining all the world’s existing audiovisual material: all the films ever made, plus the television footage ever shot, plus all the sounds once recorded – add the scientific and military observations and home videos, the (super) 8 mm recordings, the YouTube generation’s creations. Then, try to visualise not the kilometers of celluloid or optical disks or hours and lifetimes it would take to see it all, but what the possible value of all those sounds and images would be.

Do they indeed, as the author of the just released report Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market, Peter B. Kaufman, proposes, form a sort of crude oil – ready to be refined, reassembled and made into a new creative product?

In the same way that oil, pumped from the ground, is refined and then used to fuel transportation and industry, or iron, mined from the ground, is smelted into steel and used in construction, so audiovisual materials mined from the archives form part of the backbone of information, com- munication, and our creative knowledge economy, worldwide.

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market

Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market: Models and Approaches for Audiovisual Content Exploitation was commissioned by PrestoCentre, the international competence centre for digital audiovisual preservation. It explores the ways that a audiovisual archives have been “examining, appreciating, and even embracing business and commercial interactions in the digital age”. The report takes a look back at 124 years of audiovisual archiving and how the challenge of preserving moving images and sounds has reached increasing levels of complexity.

This increased complexity, not in the least caused by the advent of digital production and storage methods, leads to a mirrored exchange between the access and preservation tasks of the contemporary archive: twin missions, as Kaufman calls them, that “twist around each other like the double helix of a modern memory institution’s DNA.” The paper investigates the forms and methods audiovisual archives have been approaching to fund this double mission and how they have shifted some of their attention towards possible cooperation with businesses and even taken advantage of existing commercial opportunities.

new opportunities for cultural heritage institutions to develop business models, revenue streams, and business knowledge — and in the process gain an even greater appreciation for the role they play in media, society, and our economies today — abound. This paper, focusing as it does on such opportunities, may provide activists in the field with inspiration and support.

In order to define the value of an audiovisual collection, one needs to get a clear idea about the costs involved – by mouth of one of the interviewees, the report states that “use has begun to define value”. Inversely, an item that is not well preserved, cannot be found and thus not used by anyone, ever again. The paper stresses the importance of access as a form of open access: the value that lies in use, sharing, reuse can only be realised when unrestricted online access allows participant from different online realms can use web tools to popularise and contextualise the assets. The paper intends to suggest that in the double helix between preservation and access, “support for one is support for both”.

It also underlines the need for the audiovisual archiving field that in dealing with the multi-billion dollar business partners who are currently so important for finding, exploring, discovering and buying media on the web, the field of archives and museums needs to be well aware of its value and importance, as well al the sensitivities we share and the experiences we’ve had.

No agent has been retained to represent the interests of libraries, archives, and museums, in the way an author or musician might retain one. No lawyers have been hired to pore over the body of agreements to date and highlight best practices for the community. No working group focused exclusively on improving public-private partnerships has been assembled and charged with a mission and a deadline. If the commercial sector is investing hundreds of millions of Euros, and a hundred billion are needed, we had better get started.

7 Recommendations

The report offers 7 Recommendations and proposes the development of four new tools for a smarter (re-)use of audiovisual archival content. The recommendations are:

  • Audiovisual archives should consider themselves part and parcel of the knowledge economy.
  • Audiovisual archives should recognize that multibillion-dollar businesses are growing based on materials they curate; and as a result their institutions deserve to participate in the revenue these materials are generating, in the knowhow that they are contributing, and in other direct and indirect benefits these materials are making to the world.
  • Audiovisual archives more than anything need something approximat ing an old-fashioned guild, where collective knowledge can come to rest, and where business savvy from attorneys, dealmakers, and others might be fielded and centralized.
  • The field needs to hire, in effect, an advocate — perhaps a sanhedrin of wise men and women who can look after its collective interest and help it argue on its own behalf and on behalf of the public sector.
  • When approaching business relationships, audiovisual archives should consider the arrangements from the perspective of their commercial partners, recognizing that the strongest players in the audiovisual marketplace are in the business now for the long term, making strategic rather than tactical investments in the sector.
  • Archives should recognize in particular the value of their building comprehensive metadata resources and optimizing their audiovisual resources for search and discovery.
  • In the audiovisual archive world, archives have been dealt a strong hand. They need to recognize that audiovisual material now and over time will be the most sought- after assets to monetize.

The reasoning behind these recommendations and the well-recommended, 30-page report, are available for download as a PDF in the PrestoCentre library.

Related reading

  • Economies of the Commons 3: Sustainable Futures for Digital Archives – http://ecommons.eu – Conference outcomes, November, 2012
  • EUscreen Publishes its Second Online Access to Audiovisual Heritage Status Report – http://blog.euscreen.eu/?p=3235 – July, 2012

Metadata as the Cornerstone of Digital Archiving

FIAT/IFTA Media Management Commission logoChanging Sceneries, Changing Roles: Part VI

The International Federation of Television Archives (FIAT/IFTA)’s Media Management Commission organises an international seminar on metadata and it’s significance for digital AV-archiving on the 16th and 17th of May 2013 at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision  in Hilversum.

Since 1997, the Media Management Commission of FIAT-IFTA has organised a series of seminars for AV-documentalists, archive policy-advisers, middle management and staff. The main theme of these seminars is always: the consequences of the technological developments for the work of moving image and sound archivists. This year, the MMC dedicates its 6th Seminar in the serial Changing Sceneries, Changing Roles entirely to the phenomenon of metadata and its increased significance to access, collection management and the preservation of AV-collections.

In digital archiving, the concept of metadata is crucial. Only with the help of metadata can archives make their treasures accessible to users: metadata is capable of linking the contents of many different collections, forming a huge worldwide (or, in the case of EUscreen: European-wide) network of online sound and images. Ingesting, managing and preserving the rapidly growing amount of digital files in each individual archive would be impossible without the controlling power of standardised metadata.

Programme

The two days of the seminar will be divided into four sessions that each consist of a keynote address, two to three case studies/concrete projects and panel discussions. The four types of metadata developments that will be addressed in the four sessions are:

  1. Automatically generated metadata (keynote: Cees Snoek , computer scientist at the University of Amsterdam who leads a research team working on the development of a smart search engine for digital video: the Media Mill Semantic Video Search Engine)
  2. Linked (meta)data (keynote: Seth van Hooland, who holds the chair at the Digital Information and Communication Science Department of the Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  3. Preservation metadata (keynote:  Rebecca Guenther, who works at the Library of Congress and is currently the worlds leading authority on Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies or PREMIS)
  4. User-generated metadata (keynote: Lora Aroyo, associate professor Intelligent Information Systems at the Web and Media Department of  Computer Science at the VU University Amsterdam)

While the  keynote speakers will explore these areas, archive-practitioners from prestigious broadcasters and institutions will present how they collect, create and employ metadata in new and/or digital ways. Every session is evaluated by way of discussions between a variety of AV-experts, focusing on the professional impact of the presented views and developments.

More information

 

SOIMA2013 Expert Course

Safeguarding Sound and Image Collections

DATES 23 September – 16 October, 2013
PLACE Nairobi (Kenya) with study visits to partner institutions

Today sound and image records account for a large portion of the world’s memory and are found in diverse cultural institutions. As documents of intangible heritage and contemporary culture they are of immense value; yet, archives, museums, libraries and other cultural institutions around the world are struggling to conserve their sound and image collections in both analogue and digital formats. Moreover, conservation of sound and image materials is complex and requires specialized guidance, skills and infrastructure. While digitization offers new possibilities for wider access and preservation, many institutions lack expertise to assess the technological implications and to make informed choices that do not strain institutional resources and at the same time respect the authenticity and inherent values of this heritage.

The course will provide an overview of issues related to the preservation and access of sound and image materials e.g., photographs, films, video and audiotapes, and digital materials. It will discuss the value, meaning, selection and use of sound and image collections in various institutional contexts, exploring the potential of sound and image media in transmitting knowledge and cultural traditions. Initial sessions will especially focus on identification of various formats including the playback equipment, life expectancy of media and ways of detecting deterioration. Additional course topics will include: current knowledge and practices for documenting and cataloguing, media handling and storage, risk assessment of collections, emergency preparedness and response, criteria and technologies for migration and reformatting, planning preservation projects, outsourcing options, digital preservation and management. Issues such as curating and access, copyright laws, legal deposit, and institutional and national preservation policies will be discussed in context with participants’ working realities. Adaptation to technological changes and related cost-effective preservation strategies will form a key component of the course.

Objectives

At the end of the course, participants will be able:
1) to recognize materials and media in their sound and image collections,
2) to identify the risks to such collections,
3) to make informed choices for preservation and access within given means;
4) They will have improved their skills to communicate effectively across disciplines and to work in teams.

Course Methodology

The course will comprise lectures, a variety of group activities, practical sessions, case studies and site visits. Significant time will be allocated for independent consultation with the course team. Case studies for the course will be based on participants’ inputs and will address issues and challenges identified by them. Thus, active involvement of participants will be sought during the course preparation phase. A follow-up programme, will involve working on self-defined initiatives in participants’ home institutions and communicating as well as networking through a platform supported by the organizers.

Participants

The course is aimed at professionals working with mixed collections that have sound and image records of national or regional significance. In particular, it will interest archivists, collection managers, conservators, curators and librarians in charge of preserving such collections in various cultural institutions around the world. It will also interest Information Technology professionals working on projects involving digitization of sound and image collections or allied professionals and managers working for broadcasting institutions. Preference will be given to people actively involved in teaching and advising.
A maximum of 22 participants will be selected.

Organisers

  • ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property)
  • TARA – Trust for African Rock Art
  • In cooperation with: National Museums of Kenya

Teaching Team

International team of recognized experts identified through professional networks of the partners.
WORKING LANGUAGE: English
COURSE FEE: 900€

Travel, Accomodation and Living Expenses

Participants will be responsible for their round trip travel costs to and from Nairobi (Kenya). In order to cover living costs during the course, participants should plan for a minimum total allowance of approximately Euro 1200. This sum would include the costs of accommodation in moderately priced hotels identified by the organizers. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and other relevant funding agencies. . ICCROM may be able to offer a limited number of scholarships to selected candidates who have been unable to secure funding.

Application

Please use the course application form at http://www.iccrom.org/eng/01train_en/forms_en/2013_SOIMA_applfrm_en.doc and send it by e-mail to Soima2013@iccrom.org. Please note it is mandatory to include the statement stating your reasons for applying. Application deadline: 1 March, 2013. Applications without the statement of intent will not be considered. Should you be sending the application by mail, please send to the following contact address: SOIMA 2013-Collections Unit, ICCROM, 13, via di San Michele, 00153 ROME RM, ITALY.

Recommendation on Digitisation and Digital Preservation

The European Commission has just adopted a Recommendation on Digitisation and Digital Preservation, asking Member States to step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve private actors in digitising cultural material and make it available through Europeana.

The recommendation invites Member States to:

  • Put in place solid plans for their investments in digitisation and foster public-private partnerships to share the gigantic cost of digitisation (recently estimated at 100 billion EUR). The Recommendation spells out key principles to ensure that such partnerships are fair and balanced.
  • Make available through Europeana 30 million objects by 2015, including all Europe’s masterpieces which are no longer protected by copyright, and all material digitised with public funding.
  • Get more in-copyright material online, by, for example, creating the legal framework conditions enabling large-scale digitisation and cross-border accessibility of out-of-commerce works.
  • Reinforce their strategies and adapt their legislation to ensure long-term preservation of digital material, by, for example, ensuring the material deposited is not protected by technical measures that impede librarians from preserving it.

The Recommendation is an update of a first recommendation adopted in 2006. It takes account of Member States progress reports from 2008 and 2010, which show, that although progress has been made, more and better action is needed as regards financial resources, quantitative targets for digitisation and solid support for Europeana. It also builds on the conclusions of the ‘Comité des Sages’ on bringing Europe’s cultural heritage online, appointed by Commissioners Kroes and Vassiliou in 2010.

Useful links:

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage: TVC digital archive holds more than 135.00 hours of video

Press release from TVC

UNESCO had proclaimed 27 October as World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, to highlight the importance of audiovisual materials (films, records video and audio, radio and television) and  to encourage the protection and preservation of this documents as  fundamental part of the cultural heritage and  expression of national identity. The social and cultural development of XX and XXI centuries can not be understood without the audiovisual documents, which have become indispensable complements of written documents.

From its creation, in 1983, TVC, Televisió de Catalunya, has preserved all its production and broadcastings. Today, TVC  archive is an important part of the Catalan Audiovisual Heritage. Catalan political, social and cultural development since 1983 is reflected in TVC archive. TVC productions are complemented by older materials, retrieved in other archives or private collections for the production of historical documentaries and included also in the archive.

In  2004  TVC implemented a digital production and archive system, Digition. The  process of digitizing the old archive  tapes to incorporate its content  into the digital archive had started in 2006. Today, 45% of videotapes holdings are already digitized. For the digitizing process there have been prioritized materials in obsolete or fragile tapes, but also materials than are most likely to be used. Thus, some archive collections, like the broadcast news and sports stories from 1984, or the program “30 minutes”,  are already digitized nearly 100%.

Internal users have direct access to all the digital archive  materials,  managed and indexed by the Documentation Department. Archive holdings are widely used. More than 500 clips, about 75 hours, are retrieved from the archive by day, for different purposes: rebroadcasting, reuse in new productions, sales..

An important part of the digital archive is also accessible online. In TVC website, 3alacarta video-on-demand service, nourished daily of new productions but also incorporating part the old material digitized, offers users more than 80,000 videos online. A selection of productions with educational value is also accessible in EDU3 website. And with the participation of TVC in European projects, as   VideoActive and EUscreen,, a significant selection of digital archive holdings are also accessible through Europeana.

With the digitalization of the archive, TVC is achieving a dual objective, preservation and accessibility, that is, ensure the permanent preservation of the images in the best possible quality and provide an easy access, both to internal and external users.

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