Papers and Presentations

An Introduction to Optical Media Preservation

As the archival horizon moves forward, optical media will become increasingly significant and prevalent in collections. This paper sets out to provide a broad overview of optical media in the context of archival migration. Author Alex Duryee begins by introducing the logical structure of compact discs, providing the context and language necessary to discuss the medium. The article then explores the most common data formats for optical media: Compact Disc Digital Audio, ISO 9660, the Joliet and HFS extensions, and the Universal Data Format (with an eye towards DVD-Video). Each format is viewed in the context of preservation needs and what archivists need to be aware of when handling said formats. Following is a discussion of preservation workflows and concerns for successfully migrating data away from optical media, as well as directions for future research. This is a PDF version of an article that originally appeared in the online Code4Lib Journal, Issue 24, 2014-04-16, ISSN 1940-5758.

Embedded Metadata in WAVE Files: A Look Inside Issues and Tools

Embedded metadata is a key component of managing digital files, providing information on correct presentation, source of the file, rights, and other information which supports findability, access, authentication, preservation, and more. This paper discusses the concept and uses of embedded metadata in general, and then looks more specifically at its use in WAVE audio files, focusing on the efforts of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) to develop recommendations on embedding metadata in audio files created by government agencies. This project resulted in the development of BWF MetaEdit, a tool which allows users to view, edit, and create embedded metadata in WAVE files.

Cloud Storage Vendor Profiles

Part of our Feet on The Ground: A Practical Approach to The Cloud series, these profiles break down the offerings of third party cloud storage providers from a preservation point of view. Assessment points include Data Management, Reporting/Metadata, Redundancy, Accessibility, Security, End of Service, and adherence to the NDSA’s Levels of Preservation. Current offerings include Chronopolis, EVault, and Amazon Glacier. Profiles will continue to be added and will be updated as the market and services change.

Catalyst Case Study #1 – Sudden Loss of Institutional Knowledge

What happens to a collection when its sole caretaker suddenly goes away? This case study examines such a situation and how the use of AVPreserve’s Catalyst inventory solution was used to document an audio collection in support of preservation planning. Download the first in a series of case studies about practical, outcomes based approaches to audiovisual collection appraisal and processing.

Nine Things To Consider When Assessing Cloud Storage

When evaluating cloud storage providers, it is dangerous to assume such services are only storage and therefore uncomplicated or that requirements for storage are obvious and therefor inherently met by the service provider. Experience with any technology selection will prove the opposite. No two services are the same and the variance between services often represents the difference between successful implementation and a failed initiative. Never purchase a service without proper vetting; uninformed decisions risk loss of time, money, and even assets. These nine assessment criteria will help you get started in asking the right questions and making a practical, informed decision on using cloud storage for archival or preservation needs. PDF Link

Exiftool Tutorial Series

This four-part series of video tutorials, created by Kathryn Gronsbell is focused on Exiftool, a command-line application that can read, write, and edit embedded metadata in files. The tutorial series provides detailed support to users looking for an approachable and practical introduction to Exiftool. Featured exercises have wide-ranging applications, but trend towards improving digital preservation workflows through step-by-step exploration of Exiftool’s basic features and functions.

AMIA 2013 Presentations

AVPreserve was involved in a number of panels and events at the 2013 Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference in Richmond, Virginia, including organizing the first ever AMIA HackDay and presentations related to the imminent decay of magnetic media, the importance of metadata development for digital preservation, and the intricacies of vendor selection for digital asset management systems.

MARAC 2013 Presentations

The Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference epitomizes the importance and reach of regional professional organizations, opening educational and networking opportunities to broader audiences that cannot regularly attend national conventions. AVPreserve was a proud first-time participant on two panels this year on the topics of preserving complex digital artworks and the refinement of archival data using tools such as Open Refine. We look forward to presenting at future meetings.

The Workflow Show #203 “Beyond Metadata: The Role of Audio and Video Search”

AVPreserve President Chris Lacinak is a featured speaker in this Chesapeake Systems Podcast discussing video metadata workflows and two powerful new search applications, Nexidia and NerVve. Nexidia is a phonetic search application that can scan a library of literally thousands of hours of footage in seconds. NerVve is an application that works similarly with video imagery search. Both applications present easy-to-use interfaces, and the results typically “blow-away” first-time users. Joined by representatives from each company, the panelists address the questions of what role these applications play in advanced video workflows and whether they threaten or complement metadata-driven media asset management systems?

Guide to Developing a Request for Proposal for the Digitization of Video (and More)

Clear articulation and understanding of goals and specifications is essential to ensuring the success of any project. Whether performing digitization work in-house or using a vendor, a statement of work or request for proposal serves as the foundation of the project. This resource is intended to guide organizations in thinking critically about and discussing – internally and with vendors – the salient aspects of a request for proposal and the details within. Although this guide uses video as a focus point it is relevant and applicable for all media types.

Recovering The Collection, Establishing The Archive

When “Superstorm” Sandy swept through the New York City region it left unforeseen levels of flooding and damage in its wake in areas such as Red Hook, The Rockaways, and the Chelsea Gallery District. Though prepared for anticipated levels of flooding, Eyebeam Art+Technology Center ended up with three feet of water on the ground floor of its space. Amongst the damage was the majority of Eyebeam’s media archive: 15 years of videotape and computer disks containing artworks, documentation of events, and even server backups—essentially, Eyebeam’s entire legacy. This case study shares Eyebeam’s experience responding to the disaster in the hope that it will be of benefit as organizations consider preparing for future events. It is a reminder to archives, caretakers, curators, stewards, and others responsible preservation of content that our work on disaster preparedness is not, and never will be, done.

Preservation of Audiotape & the Dolby Noise Reduction System

An online introduction to the concepts and application of Dolby Noise Reduction. Misapplication of noise reduction can have a highly deleterious effect on the quality and integrity of audio recordings, thus an understanding of the system and use of the correct Dolby settings during playback and reformatting is extremely important to preservation. Includes audio examples illustrating the differences.

Protecting the Personal Narrative: An Assessment of Archival Practice’s Place in Personal Digital Archiving

The archival community struggles to fit in the private process of personal digital archiving. A common recommendation is to begin preservation far upstream, introducing archival practices early into the act of personal collection. But what may the archives best intentions introduce into the act of personal collection? Entering too early into the process may place undue influence on the decisions of the collector, the what gets kept and why? Active preservation of digital personal archives is necessary for ensuring the longevity of materials, but the archives community must be aware that this may alter the personal narratives that personal archives represent. From the Personal Digital Archiving 2013 Conference, Seth Anderson’s presentation.

Insuring Media Archives & Leveraging Data Management as a Risk Reduction Solution

Creating item level records for archival media collections is seen as a high cost investment, but it may help save costs and efforts in the long run, especially in the event of a major loss due to disaster.

What’s Your Product? Assessing the suitability of a More Product, Less Process methodology for processing audiovisual collections

The widely referenced and adopted More Product, Less Process methodology (MPLP) represents a much needed evolution in the manner of processing archival collections in order to overcome backlogs and resource shortfalls that institutions face. In the case of audiovisual-based collections, however, the ability to plan budgets, timelines, equipment needs, and other preservation plans that unequivocally impact access is directly tied to the documentation of some degree of item-level knowledge about one’s collection. This paper proposes an extension of the MPLP model which is necessitated to properly address the particular needs of audiovisual and other complex media in a way that properly meets archival standards and that assists the archivist in generating their true product: the provision of the three basic services of Findability, Access, and Sustainability regardless of the format, the content, or the tools used.

5 Tips For What Not To Do When Creating A File Naming Structure

The human desire to classify and name is a highly personal and a greatly prized act. Naming the files we create is no different, though the number of files and tools used for managing them place a great need on consistent structure and application of file naming guidelines. What to do is then very simple — consistency. More to the point is what not to do in order to avoid pitfalls.

A Primer on the Use of TimeReference: A field in the bext chunk of BWF files

This presentation addresses the typical questions that arise from embedded metadata implementers regarding the role, technicalities and value of the TimeReference field in the bext chunk of BWF files. This mostly visual presentation is a practical primer for everyone from engineers to archivists and librarians.

FADGI Audio-Visual Working Group Guidelines: Audio Digitization System Performance

The Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative is a governmental interagency activity that draws participants from the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Libraries of Medicine and Agriculture, Voice of America, and several other interested agencies. The initiative is divided into two parts: the Still Image Working Group and the Audio-Visual Working Group. Chris Lacinak has drafted the initial report on the Audio-Visual Working Group’s efforts to evaluate audio digitization systems and develop performance metrics in order to set guidelines and evaluative measurements for conducting and monitoring digitization activities.

Azimuth Adjustment for Magnetic Audio Recordings by Audrey Young and Peter Oleksik

The ease of using cassette-based media — pop it in and press play — and the development of compact, no-frills consumer electronics helped make audiovisual materials more accessible to a wider population, but there has also been the side effect of distancing users from the processes involved in recording and playback that were more apparent with open reel media and higher end decks. This is less of an issue with commercially recorded tape where standards are more regulated, but when dealing with field recordings, oral histories, and other original material, the configurations and settings of the recording device and playback device can have a major impact on audio or visual quality if unaccounted for.

In the first in a series exploring all of those knobs, switches, and buttons you see on decks, Audrey Young and our own Peter Oleksik have written a brief primer on azimuth and why it matters for archivists, researchers, and other people who listen to or work with magnetic audio recordings.

Embedded Metadata in WAVE Files

Metadata is an integral component of digital preservation and an essential part of a digital object. Files without appropriate metadata lack the basic means required for computing systems and humans to understand, interpret, or manage them. Effectively, there is no preservation or meaningful access without metadata.

This presentation by Chris Lacinak covers the why, what and how of embedded metadata, focusing on WAVE audio files. It also reviews initial findings from an ARSC Technical Committee study, spearheaded by Chris, analyzing the interchange and persistence of embedded metadata across audio software applications that are regularly used in the creation of audio files in production and archival settings. Finally, Chris walks through BWF MetaEdit, a groundbreaking free and open-source tool commissioned by the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative and developed by AudioVisual Preservation Solutions in 2010.

IASA/AMIA 2010 Presentations

AVPS moderated or presented on a number of panels at the 2010 International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives / Association of Moving Image Archivists conference in Philadelphia, PA. The topics covered a wide breadth, including embedded metadata, new tools and strategies for digital media preservation, and new approaches to funding and advocacy for collection management.

Barcode Scanners, MiniDV Decks, and the Migration of Digital Information from Analog Surfaces

by Dave Rice and Stefan Elnabli – October 28, 2010

Due to the susceptibility and challenges of both digital and analog carriers, data must be periodically moved from one carrier to another within a preservation process. When analog data is migrated from its original carrier to a new digital carrier, the analog data is ultimately transformed through the process of sampling. Challenges are then posed to authenticating the accuracy of such a migration. Despite the perceptual exactness of an analog source to its digital copy, the analog data and the digital data are never exactly the same. However, in the realm of file-based digital-to-digital migration, exactness can be achieved and evaluated. Within the entirely file-based environment, checksums and data comparison tools can verify that two copies are exact matches or reveal their deviation in a way that is not feasible between analog and digital environments.

A Primer on Codecs for Moving Image and Sound Archives

10 Recommendations for Codec Selection and Management

The increasing number of digital objects under our guardianship as archivists will require a greater convergence between IT and archival knowledge sets in order to develop effective preservation strategies. One area of great concern for the integrity and persistence of digital audio and video files is the selection of file formats and codecs…Though this is also an area where there is a great lack of certainty and clarity on the issue.

This paper by Chris Lacinak lays out a clear explanation of what codecs are, how they are used, and what their selection and application means to archives. Also provided are 10 recommendations that will help you in the selection and management of codecs in an archival setting.

Collaborations in Conserving Time Based Art Colloquium

It is widely understood that the special challenges of conserving film, video, computer-based, and interactive art demand collaborative efforts—shared responsibility among a wide array of disciplines. Over the past decade, best practices and shared principles about the care of this art have been developed: emulation, migration, variability. But how do these practices actually work in the real world? Co-sponsored by the Hirshhorn Museum and the Lunder Conservation Center, Smithsonian Institution, this colloquium brings together conservators, artists, curators, exhibition designers, and audiovisual specialists in a series of case studies about collaboration, designed to provoke debate about how we have cared for these works thus far.

At the colloquium Chris Lacinak addressed the topic Managing Born-Digital Time-Based Media, covering issues from file format and codec selection to preservation workflows and file management/storage. The link below is to the video of Chris’ talk taken from Part 1 of the livestream of the colloquium.

Digital Audio Interstitial Errors: Raising Awareness and Developing New Methodologies for Detection

AVPS is involved in leading parallel projects within the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative and the Audio Engineering Society on the development of new standards and tools for performance testing of digital audio systems. As part of this work AVPS is proposing a Comparative Analysis tool which departs from existing error detection tools and is particularly well suited to identifying a particular type of error, labeled here as interstitial errors. This paper by Chris Lacinak uncovers one type of error that can occur and discusses the theory behind the comparative analysis methodology and approach to the development of new tools for test and measurement.

5 Tips for Effective Collections Advocacy

Becoming an effective advocate for your collections means becoming a proactive participant in the management and planning of their preservation and long term maintenance. The amount of work to do and the costs can feel overwhelming, but things will never change until you take charge, make a plan, and actively seek the resources you need. Here are 5 tips on how you can start to manage your collections rather than letting your collections manage you.

Digital Tape Preservation Strategy: Preserving Data or Video?

This paper examines preservation philosophies and strategies applied to large scale video collections that are both born-digital and tape-based. Technically and philosophically different approaches may be applied to migrating born-digital, tape-based content with decisions ranging from deck selection and choice of output to specifications of the resulting file. At the core of this is the distinction between migrating digital video as an audiovisual signal versus migrating it as data.

Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) 2009 Accessioning & Managing Born Digital Video

Born Digital File-Based Video recording is pervasive. Tape is not even an option on many new cameras being sold today. This shift has made accessioning and management of file based content and the associated challenges a new reality to archives. This presentation offers insights into the challenges that born digital file-based video brings to your archive and strategies for managing it.

Project Outsourcing: Navigating Through the Client/Vendor Relationship to Achieve Your Project Goals

A guide and checklist to help clients successfully work with vendors

Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) 2009 Strategies for Preserving Born Digital Audio

A presentation focusing on obsolescence monitoring and normalization as strategies for managing born digital audio

Digital Asset Management with Free and Open Tools

David Rice and Mike Castleman represented Democracy Now! at the 2008 AMIA Digital Asset Symposium presenting on the integration of open source technology and Free Software in efforts to record, disseminate, and archive moving image media.

The presentation included references to
Tools for Recording: dvgrab, cron, vidi
Tools for Transcoding and Wrapping: ffmpeg, mplayer, MP4Box, ffmpegX, x246 for Quicktime
Tools for Online Media Accessibility: The Internet Archive, blip.tv, Miro
Tools for Migrating AudioVisual Data from Tape-Based Digital Media: DATXtract and Live Capture Plus
Tools for Backup and LTO Management: Bacula
Metadata Extraction Tools: MediaInfo, getid3, qt_tools
Metadata Standard: PBCore

Joint Technical Symposium (JTS) 2007

A Survey of Current Audiovisual Assessment and Prioritization Projects (Chris Lacinak coordinated this six presentation session for JTS 2007. The speech below is an introduction to the session to offer perspective and context to the topic and presentations)

National Archives (NARA) 21st Annual Preservation Conference:

Managing the Intangible Quality Assessment of the Digital Surrogate

National Recording Preservation Board Written Submission

Written by Chris Lacinak in representation of the Audio Engineering Society and the Association of Moving Image Archivists.

Audio Engineering Society (AES) 121st Convention

Preservation: The Shift from Format to Strategy

“Preserving the African Presence in Jazz” By Seth Paris for AVPS – January 2009

Nestled at the base of a green rolling hill, thirty minutes north of Accra, Ghana in the small village of Medie, is the African Heritage Library, the home of Odomankoma Kyrema, the “Divine Drummer” Kofi Ghanaba.  Formerly known as Guy Warren, Ghanaba is one of the more elusive musicians of the 20th century… Click below to read the full article.

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