The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Digitization
- 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
- A stark transformation - 3D scans of the life masks of President Lincoln from before and after the Civil War. [via face to face blog, NPG]
- Creative Commons released their "State of the Commons" report which found that there are 882 million CC-licensed works on the net, up from 400 million in 2010. [via InfoDocket]
- Now available - 16,000 pages of Charles Darwin's writing on evolution has been digitized and is available online. [via Open Culture]
- Arthur Greenhall, a Snake Hunter and recorder of animal sounds. [via Smithsonian Collections Blog]
- Tools of the trade in the field - For conservators, one such tool is the USB digital microscope. [via The Getty Iris]
- How ENIAC, the world's first computer, was saved from being scraped. [via Wired]
- Discussions on collecting and preserving digital art with Jon Ippolito, Professor of New Media at the University of Maine, and Richard Rinehart, Director of the Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Now for your viewing pleasure - A new monthly video series: Shelf Life, puts a spotlight on the 33 million artifacts at the American Museum of Natural History. [via Open Culture]
- A new look for the Smithsonian as it announces its plans for renovating the South Mall portion of the Smithsonian which includes the Smithsonian Castle, the Sackler Gallery of Art, the National Museum of African Art, the Arts and Industries Building, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Enid A. Haupt Garden. [via Newsdesk, SI]
- Up for a redesign - the new look of the Internet Archive. [via Internet Archive Blogs]
- Reality check - Digital files decay - Here's how The Getty takes care of their digital files. [via The Getty Iris]
- Parchment during medieval times was quite the expensive purchase - As a result there are a number of creative ways people employed to repair tears, holes, and other imperfections. [via Colossal]
- A look at the digital preservation practices of 148 cultural institutions provides a basis for the current state of the digital preservation landscape. [The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Never before seen in it's entirety by the public,The Textus Roffensis, a 12th century legal encyclopaedia compiled by a single scribe at Rochester Cathedral, in Kent, in the 1120s has been digitized and made available online. [via InfoDocket]
- Thanks IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services)! With a grant from the IMLS, the Norman Rockwell Museum has made available online 50,000 photographs, some of which Rockwell used as studies for his paintings. [via OpenCulture]
- Also available this week are free downloadable files to print 3-D models of items found in the British Museum's collection. [via InfoDocket]
- An excellent question - Why does Netflix send Orange is the New Black to the Library of Congress on videotape? [via The Verge]
- Interested in audiovisual preservation? Here are a two posts on what's going on internationally when it comes to audiovisual preservation and also a look a two pioneers in digitial audio, Dietrich Schüller and Albrecht Häfner. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Check out this new website: Unboxing the Chomsky Archive, which offers a preview of some of the unique materials found in the collection of Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at MIT, as well as a way to support the archival project. [via MIT Libraries News]
- Need some photographic inspiration? - Check out this video of photographer, Brian Gaberman, and his work with wet plate collodion photography. [via PetaPixel]