Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Preserving born-digital video - what are good practices?
Interesting to see Killian Escobedo's post on digital video preservation over at the Smithsonian Archives' visual archives blog. Our trainee, Emma, is working on questions of these sort at the moment as we start to develop strategies for preserving the vast amount of born-digital video being deposited in our archive collections. While there's quite a lot of material out there on digitising analogue video, we've found a real shortage of guidance on the management of born-digital video collections. With that in mind I'd be really interested in hearing how other folks are dealing with this kind of material. Can you give us any pointers? At the moment we're particularly interested in learning more about existing practices, good tools, realistic workflows, and preservation-grade standards (for metadata and content - which ones and why?).

So, what kind of digital video do we have? It's a good question, and one I can't answer fully for the moment. What I can say is that our collections include digital video deposited on CDs, DVDs, Bluray discs, miniDV and mediumDV cassettes, and hard disks. Much of this material has yet to be captured from its original media so we don't have that inventory of codecs, wrapper formats, frame rates, metadata, etc. that Killian talks about. This kind of detailed survey work is a next step for us, but one that will have to wait until we have developed a workflow for initial capture (bit-level preservation comes first). I wonder if we'll see the same diversity of technical characteristics present in the Smithsonian's materials. It seems likely.