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July 10, 2013

New Tools In Development At AVPreserve

AVPreserve is in the finishing phases of development for a number of new digital preservation tools that we’re excited to release in the near future.

Fixity: Fixity is a utility for the documentation and regular review of checksums of stored files. Fixity scans a folder or directory, creating a database of the files, locations, and checksums contained within. The review utility then runs through the directory and compares results against the stored database in order to assess any changes. Rather than reporting a simple pass/fail of a directory or checksum change, Fixity emails a report to the user documenting flagged items along with the reason for a flag, such as that a file has been moved to a new location in the directory, has been edited, or has failed a checksum comparison for other reasons. Supplementing tools like BagIt that review files at points of exchange, when run regularly Fixity becomes a powerful tool for monitoring digital files in repositories, servers, and other long-term storage locations.

Interstitial Error Utility: Following up on our definition and further study of the issue of Audio Interstitial Errors (report recently published on the FADGI website), AVPreserve has been working on a tool to automatically find dropped sample errors in digitized audio files. Prior to this, an engineer would have to use reporting tools such as those in WaveLab that flag irregular seeming points in the audio signal and then manually review each one to determine if the report was true or false. These reports can produce 100s of flags, the majority of which are not true errors, greatly increasing the QC time. The Interstitial Error Utility compares two streams of the digitized audio captured on separate devices. Irregularities that appear in one stream and not in the other point to issues like Interstitial Errors that relate to samples lost when writing to disc. This utility will greatly decrease quality control time and help us further our research on this problem.

AVCC: Thanks to the beta testing of our friends at the University of Georgia our AVCC cataloging tool should be ready for an initial public release in the coming months. AVCC provides a simple template for documenting audio, video, and film collections, breaking the approach down into a granular record set with recommendations for minimal capture and more complex capture. The record set focuses on technical aspects of the audiovisual object with the understanding that materials in collections are often inaccessible and have limited descriptive annotations. The data entered then feeds into automated reports that support planning for preservation prioritization, storage, and reformatting. The initial release of AVCC is based in Google Docs integrated with Excel, but we are in discussions to develop the tool into a much more robust web-based utility that will, likewise, be free and open to the public.

Watch our Twitter and Facebook feeds for more developments as we get ready to release these tools!