The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Digitization
- Smithsonian in London? - Just maybe as the Smithsonian's Board of Regents have agreed to proceed with negotiations to have an exhibition space in the redevelopment of the former Olympic Park in East London as part of a proposed new educational and cultural quarter in the city. [via The Torch, Smithsonian Institution]
- Privacy, responsibily and electronic records are in the news at the University of Oregon where 22,000 emails from the President's office were released. [via InfoDocket]
- A behind the scenes look on what it takes to put on the Smithsonian Gardens' orchid show at the National Museum of Natural History. [via Smithsonian Gardens blog]
- Here comes the boom - NASA has made available online a collection of space sounds. [via Open Culture]
- It takes a lot to put together an exhibition, here are five things Jennifer Levasseur learned while curating the exhibition, Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity, at the National Air and Space Museum. [via AirSpace blog, NASM]
- The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has released an API to grant developers programmatic access to its collection. [via InfoDocket]
- With a little thing called the Super Bowl happening this weekend, here is the trailer for a film about the four photographers who have photographed every Super Bowl. [via PetaPixel]
- 20 years in the making - Charle's Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" is finally back on the ground at the National Air and Space Museum as it undergoes preservation work. [via The Torch, SI]
- These new videos shows you how to engage student with arts. [via The Getty Iris]
- Found in the archives - A glass ampoule containing an early sample of a cholera vaccine. [via The Times of Israel]
- New content online - Louisiana Digital Media Archive; Wikimedia Commons adds 100,000 medical history images from The Wellcome Library; The Whiteny Museum of Art puts online 21,000 works of American art; and Pond5 launched a searchable collection of 80,000 public domain videos, images, and 3D models. [via InfoDocket and OpenCulture]
- Archiving the web with the Internet Archive. [via The New Yorker]
- Revealed at least - 31 undeveloped rolls of film shot by a solder during World War II is processed. [via PetaPixel]
- During the first snow of 2015, the National Zoo's giant panda cub, Bao Bao, displayed the joy of experiencing snow for the first time. [via Smithsonian Science]
- Coming to a reading room soon - The American Library Association published a report on the need to develop policies regarding 3D printing in libraries. [via InfoDocket]
- The "Ansel Adams Act" went to Congress last week and aims to ensure that photography in public spaces is not prohibited, that the government will not charge photographers to shoot on public land, and that photographic equipment cannot be seized or tampered with. [via PetaPixel]
- The Digital Public Library of American (DPLA) recently announced a new strategic plan. [via InfoDocket]
- Talk about acceleration - A cheetah does 0-60 faster than a Ferrari or Lamborghini! [via Core77]
- Let there be images! - Extracting images from over 500 years of books. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- After a three year search, the Michael Ellzey was appointed to head the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. [via NARA]
- Still many things yet to be discovered in the world - Here are five fascintating new species of animals discovered by Smithsonian scientists this year. [via Smithsonian Science]
- So this Christmas you may have gotten a drone to play with, the National Air and Space Museum offers some information about drones and what you can do with them. [via AirSpace, NASM]
- Before there was Yahoo, before there was Google, there was the Reference Librarian who would answer those questions you could not answer yourself. [via Hyperallergic]
The Smithsonian Channel produces award-winning television programming that engages viewers much in the same way as the Smithsonian's museums and galleries do throughout the United States with their visitors. Just as the Smithsonian is working to digitize its collections for greater access and preservation, the Smithsonian Channel and the Smithsonian Institution Archives are also undertaking various efforts to ensure the digital preservation of these television programs.
The reformatting workflow for this project has been dynamic, and it should be. During earlier accessions of Smithsonian Channel programming, the progams were transferred on DVDs, numbering in the hundreds. In order to preserve the files digitally and prepare them for ingest into the Smithsonian's Digital Asset Management System (DAMS), the DVDs undertook a lengthy workflow process to ensure the highest level of playability and playback quality.
As part of the project's workflow, and best practices at the Archives, each disc is individually scanned using virus detection software. While this process is lengthy, it is critical to ensuring the security of the Archives' IT infrastructure. The next step in the workflow is to individually create .ISO images of each disc, which retains each program's DVD menu functionality. After creation of the .ISOs, the individual .vobs are extracted and converted to a single .vob using a command prompt script. This single .vob is then converted to an .mpeg, also using command prompt, to ensure the greatest playability across multiple software programs. This process is individually repeated for every DVD within the collection and can take months to complete.
After creation of the mpegs, the associated metadata must be created for each individual file in preparation for ingest into the DAMs. The metadata is applied to each file using Adobe Bridge; however, the metadata cannot be embedded into the actual video files, thus creating a sidecar .xmp file is necessary to hold the associated video file's metadata. Once this process is complete, the .ISO, .mpg, and .xmp files are entered simultaneously into the DAMs to ensure to proper parent (.iso)/child (.mpg and .xmp) relationships are maintained.
Throughout the entire workflow, upon initial receipt, after each conversion, and after upload to the DAMs, each file has been viewed for quality assurance, furthering adding time to an already lengthy workflow. In total, processing the collection of 136 DVDs within the accession took roughly 300 hours to complete.
In an effort to simplify the workflow, archivists from the Smithsonian Channel and the Archives met to develop a plan to achieve maximum efficiency with the preservation of Smithsonian Channel's programming. During the meeting, it was decided to test a pilot program wherein the Smithsonian Channel would send a number of .mov files through a secure server to the Archives to develop a new workflow based solely on the digital transfer of the Smithsonian Channel's programs. While not eliminating the original DVD transfer yet, this process significantly decreased the workflow and time involved in the entire preservation process.
With the transfer of the .mov files, the conversion process was removed entirely from the workflow. Further, the metadata can be directly embedded into the file header of the .mov files, eliminating the need to create a separate file for the metadata. For DAMs ingest, only the .mov file is needed, as opposed to the .ISO, .mpg, and the .xmp file. In essence, what used to take nearly 300 hours to complete could essentially be completed in as little as a day for a collection of programming.
By making the process of preserving the Smithsonian Channel programs simpler and easier, programs can be preserved more quickly and with less files to work with and a more straightforward workflow there is less likelihood for errors to be made. The collaborative effort between the Smithsonian Channel and the Archives is a prime example of two institutions working together in the effort of digital preservation.
- What are You Watching?, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- And Action: The Ins and Outs of DVD Video Preservation, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Digital Video Preservation: Further Challenges for Preserving Digital Video and Beyond, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Smithsonian Channel records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives
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