Amy Currie

Amy Currie

Last updated on 13 May 2020

DPC staff have been involved in very many events and webinars over the years, responding directly to members’ needs and filling the gaps where other advice and support was lacking. The ‘Greatest Hits Collection’ will play that back over the coming months while colleagues and members are working from home and perhaps not able to access other development opportunities. And of course, we’re always open to proposals from members who want to put together their own digital preservation themed mixtape.


So far, the DPC’s ‘Greatest Hits Collection’ has offered four volumes on OAIS, Storage, Good Practice, and Collaboration.

For Volume 5, I chose the topic of audiovisual preservation. If you wonder sometimes about the key issues surrounding the digital preservation of moving image and sound, this curated list is for you.


Let's start with the introductory tracks...

To begin, there's Richard Wright’s 2012 Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound DPC Technology Watch Report, a rich resource for anyone interested in preserving audiovisual content. The report concentrates on digitisation, encoding, file formats and wrappers, use of compression, obsolescence and what to do about the particular digital preservation problems of sound and moving images.

If you are looking for more of a brief overview, the Digital Preservation Handbook’s section on Moving pictures and sound provides a novice to intermediate level overview summarised from the report with five ‘mini case studies’ of UK collections that have run preservation and access projects for audiovisual content.


Next are the more genre-specific tracks...

If you want to dig deeper into case studies of audiovisual preservation, check out the presentations from the briefing day on Preserving Moving Image & Sound held last year.

In particular, I enjoyed Strategies and Tactics for High-volume Digitisation and Digital Preservation by Stephen McConnachie at the British Film Institute (or ‘how on earth do you do digital preservation of 10,000 films and 100,000 tv programmes in 10 years’) (please log in to view recording). 


Another favourite is Adrienne Warburton’s presentation on Planning for Digital Preservation at RTÉ Archives, which offers a useful straightforward account of their current situation and the practical challenges regarding resources, data migration, and workarounds when there is a lack of a digital archive, offering advice for others with similar situations at smaller organisations (please log in to view recording).


The Irish Film Archive Loopline Project is a DPCA2018 award-winning example of overcoming budgetary constraints to preserve a legacy. In 2014 the Irish Film Institute (IFI) faced the need to preserve digital formats alongside its traditional analogue collections. When faced with technical obstacles, they learned to make their own scripts and develop a suite of tools for activities such as fixity, movement and transcoding. The resulting IFIscripts not only can be used by the IFI but have been made public and shared for other archives around the world.


The DPC blog is another way for members to share and reflect on their experiences undertaking audiovisual preservation. In a November 2019 blog post, Mar Pérez Morillo points out the strict roadmap of priorities for the Digitisation and long-term preservation of sound and audiovisual materials at the BNE. In November 2018, Bertram Lyons from AVP shared the Alan Lomax Archive story to explain the inherent relationship between Audiovisual preservation and digital preservation, highlighting how bit preservation and representation information are critical for digital preservation of digitised and born-digital audiovisual archives.

If you are still unsure about the distinctions between carriers of analogue and digital audiovisual information, Brecht DeClercq at the Flemish Institute for Archiving (VIAA) agrees that It’s just not always a clear cut. In this DPC blog post, he identifies three practical challenges with carrier types and digital transfer before concluding that ‘digital transfer is the same as digitising analog information, and yet completely different. And it might come as a deception to some, but the one is certainly no simpler than the other.’


Finally, the closing motivational tracks...

A good mixtape should inspire the recipient to create another. When thinking of next steps for audiovisual preservation, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision 2018 White Paper, Towards a New Audiovisual Think Tank for Audiovisual Archivists and Cultural Heritage Professionals, outlines strategic priorities for the next ten years with ten concrete recommendations for collective action. The ten recommendations are delivered in the form of questions with timelines, prompting readers to both think and act.

Additionally, over the years the DPC’s Career Development Fund has been able to fund training opportunities for members interested in audiovisual archiving. This past January, Ivan Dimitrovski and Sally Cholewa attended the Winter School for Audio-Visual Archiving, blogging about their positive experience and practical takeaways. DPC members can also apply for Career Development Fund grants to support other self-identified specialist training opportunities that will help build digital preservation capacity within their organization.   


Are there any classics hits or deep cuts you think are missing from this list? Let us know! DPC is here to hear from members who want to put together their own digital preservation themed mixtape.

  Greatest Hits - Volume 1     Greatest Hits - Volume 2      Greatest Hits - Volume 3    GREATEST HITS - VOLUME 4

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