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Curating Digital Video - Store

Q. What storage options exist for digital video?

Once you have selected your digital content, you will have to determine how your content should be stored for the long-term.  When you are planning for the storage of your digital content, you will need to consider cost of storage, quantity of storage devices, level of expertise necessary, partners you have or may want to work with, and the services that you want to build from what you have stored.  Also remember that in order to have accessible, sustainable digital content, you will need to create and store various kinds of metadata either with or linked to your digital content.



  • Shahmohammadi, Andrea.  "Born-Digital Video Preservation: A Final Report."  Smithsonian Institution Archives, February 2011.
    Born‐digital videos bring about a number of multifaceted and still unanswered questions amongst archivists when discussing best‐preservation practices.  While digital audio files have gradually evolved some accepted standards from which to build a framework for preservation, this is unfortunately not the case with digital video.  Moving images are now primarily made in digital formats, and, as such, the archival community needs to better address how to preserve and make accessible incoming collections for future generations.
  • Naron, Stephen, David Walls and Molly Wheeler.  "Best Practices for the Digital Conversion of Dynamic Media."  August 12, 2008. -- link opens a Word document
    These best practices are intended to serve as a guide for understanding the principles and technological issues surrounding the digital reformatting of dynamic media.  
  • Audio-Visual Working Group.  "MXF Application Specification," Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative.  Last updated October 12, 2012.
    The Working Group is drafting an MXF Application Specification for Archiving and Preservation (AS-AP), a detailed specification for a file "wrapper," one key part of a digital file format for audio-visual preservation.  The specification includes a list of permitted encoded essences (the underlying content bitstreams) and outlines aspects of the metadata to be embedded to support long term content management. 
  • Lazorchak, Butch.  "Whither Digital Video Preservation?"  The Signal (blog), Library of Congress, July 7, 2011.
    Finding appropriate digital preservation file formats for audiovisual materials is not an easy task.  While much of the recorded sound preservation realm has agreed upon the viability of the broadcast wave format for sound materials, the video realm is still kind of the Wild West in that there is no broad consensus regarding what kinds of file formats or codecs are appropriate for preservation.  To help the user determine the sustainability of a digital format, the Library has created an online resource called the Sustainability of Digital Formats web site:  This web resource lists hundreds of digital formats and applies a rubric to each in order to help the digital preservation professional determine if the format would be likely to be viable long term.
  • Wactlar, Howard D. and Michael G. Christel.  "Digital Video Archives: Managing Through Metadata."  Council on Library and Information Resources, April 2002.
    This report discusses many of the emerging challenges of digital video archiving, from encoding standards to metadata, noting that "there is no broad consensus regarding what kinds of file formats or codecs are appropriate for preservation."
  • Gilmour, Ian.  "Research Report on JPEG 2000 for Video Archiving."  Media Matters Technical Report, January 17, 2007.
    Motion-JPEG2000 lossless data reduction is implemented as a key technology for reducing file size in storage and for reducing data rates in networked file transfer.
  • E-MELD School of Best Practice in Digital Language Documentation.  "Archival Formats for Video Digitization."  Last updated April 11, 2006.
    As digital camcorders become more prevalent, a growing number of videos are being created in digital format on magnetic tapes, then transferred to computers.  However, there are questions about the suitability of servers for video file storage at this time.  For long-term preservation, uncompressed formats are preferred, to avoid loss of data, but uncompressed video files are extremely large.  Although uncompressed formats are optimal for archiving, compressed video formats might well be adequate for most linguistic research, since the crucial information is aural, not visual.  Whichever format is chosen for digitization, the original tape should be saved as well, because future technological advances may make it possible to re-digitize the video in a higher-quality, uncompressed format.
  • Schreibman, Susan, ed.  "Best Practice Guidelines for Digital Collections."  Office of Digital Collections and Research, University of Maryland Libraries, May 4, 2007.
    See section 9.0, "Digital Audio and Moving Images" (pp.36-42).  Enormous file sizes, time and labor intensive processes, and the instability of the original object all contribute to the difficulties inherent in digital reformatting of audio and moving images.  There are, however, marked advantages to the digital reformatting of audio and moving image material that can compensate for the complexity of the process.  These include fragile analog originals receiving less wear and tear due to repeated use, increased remote access to the content, improved intellectual access through appropriate metadata creation and increased flexibility for future use.
  • Electronic Arts Intermix.  "Preservation > Single-channel > Best Practices."
    Each preservation project, each video work, and each institution is unique.  The works may be well cataloged or in disarray.  There may be a single, highly valuable title or hundreds of works of unknown value.  These guidelines should be approached as just that -- guidelines that will help you form a preservation strategy to suit your situation.  Perhaps more important, they will also help you understand the questions you need to ask vendors or archivists as your project moves forward.
  • EVIA Digital Archive Project

    The EVIA Digital Archive Project is a collaborative endeavor to create a digital archive of ethnographic field video for use by scholars and instructors.  The Project has been developed through the joint efforts of ethnographic scholars, archivists, librarians, technologists, and legal experts.  Beyond the primary mission of digitally preserving ethnographic field video, the EVIA Project has also invested significantly in the creation of software and systems for the annotation, discovery, playback, peer review, and scholarly publication of video and accompanying descriptions.

  • PBCore Resources
    Organized as a set of specified fields that can be used in database applications, PBCore is utilized as a data model for media cataloging and asset management systems.  As a schema, it enables data exchange between media collections, systems and organizations.  [should this link to PBCore ( instead of this resources page? -- CB]


Last updated on 08/27/13, 11:56 am by callee



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