Friday, January 04, 2008

Digital Preservation Matters - 04 January 2008

Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation. Mike Casey, Bruce Gordon. Indiana University, Harvard University. 4 December 2007.

In 2005 Indiana University and Harvard University, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, joined on a project to develop best practices for audio preservation. They have now released their report which has produced four key results:

1. publication of our findings and best practices,

2. development software tools for audio preservation,

3. audio preservation systems at each institution, and

4. preservation of critically endangered and highly valuable recordings.

The chapters of the 168 page document are divided into an overview of the key concepts for collection managers and curators, and a section of recommended technical practices for audio engineers, digital librarians, and other technical staff. The appendices include XML and METS documents, and also a listing of the 40 open source software tools that will be available in toolkit in 2008. The document chapters include: personnel and equipment needed; digital files; metadata; storage; preservation packages and interchange; systems and workflows; and a summary of best practices. Some notes from the report:

  • It is critical that audio preservation systems use technologies, formats, procedures, and techniques that conform to international standards and best practices.
  • The Broadcast Wave Format itself has become a de facto standard in the audio world.
  • Preservation transfer work is best undertaken in a studio designed as a critical listening space.
  • there is no substitute for experience with audio formats and equipment.
  • for both technical and economic reasons, the preservation of audio must rely upon transfer to, and storage in, the digital domain.
  • The wav or broadcast wav file is the best target preservation format.
  • the integrity of every file created for preservation must be verified over time
  • They use the MD5 hash algorithm for verifying data integrity of every file
  • Without metadata, digital audio preservation is not possible
  • Once content is digitized, the new strategy relies upon regular migration from one carrier to another in the digital domain
  • They have chosen LTO tape for their storage media over DVD and hard drives
  • The Fedora repository system is being used as the basis for the IU digital preservation repository.
  • Selection often consists of an assessment of both research value and preservation condition
  • Develop a prioritized list of recordings / collections for preservation treatment based on, at least, an analysis of research value and preservation condition
  • Audio preservation systems in the digital age necessarily require greater specialization, and more collaboration among specialists, than analog counterparts
  • preservation is partly a race against time due to format deterioration and obsolescence

Challenges of Film, Video, and New Media Preservation. Educause Live! December 19, 2007

This is an audio presentation on the challenges of film, video, and media preservation, including new types of media, obsolescence, copyright, and deterioration of objects. Over 50% of all moving images before 1950 have vanished. We need to look at preservation in a new way, don’t worry about the ‘original’ or physical embodiment as much; constantly reformat; long-term planning and administration is essential. We need a managed environment and monitor objects as well as the technical environment periodically. Also includes PowerPoint slides.

Google Plans Service to Store Users' Data. Kevin J. Delaney. Wall Street Journal. November 27, 2007.

Google, in trying to increase web-based computing, is developing a service to let users store contents of their computers on the internet. This would include files such as word-processing documents, digital music, video clips and images. Users could access their files via the Internet from different computers and share them online with friends. The service would face questions on issues such as data privacy, copyright, cost, and technical challenges of offering service without interruption.

China IC designers boosting use of RealNetworks file format in digital media players. Jimmy Hsu, Adam Hwang. Digitimes. 17 December 2007.

Integrated chip designers in China have been promoting solutions for digital media players based on the Real Media (RM) and Real Media variable bit rate (RMVB) multimedia file formats. The formats are able to compress a 3-4GB video into a 250-400MB file.