Training / Dissemination

A brief report on what happened

PrestoCentre Professional Development Training Series Long-term Audiovisual Digital Preservation Strategy, Planning and Tools

From September 13 to September 17 took place in Bry-sur-Marne within the Ina premises, 8km East of Paris, the first PrestoCentre training course. During 5 days, 27 participants from 8 countries participated to the training course where the main subject was Long-term Audiovisual Preservation. The objective of the course was to initiate archive managers and practitioners to the strategic approach of long-term preservation: how to organise it, how to plan and evaluate its incidence and risks, and which are the existing tools.

The course was organised in different teaching modules:

  • Presentation of tools and models
  • Case studies
  • Industrial solutions
  • Assessment discussions with participants
  • Institutional visits

Day 1 was dedicated to Preservation Planning and Management, this session permitted to get an overview of Digital Preservation and of the PrestoPRIME technology. Essential aspects of Preservation planning were equally presented, mainly on the mapping and prioritisation of collections.

Day 2 was dedicated to Metadata, metadata tools and technology Integration. During this day the Content Tracking technology, the multivalent long-term management approach, MPEG issues for digital preservation and the right management tools were presented. Two major achievements of the PrestoPRIME project were presented: P4, the PrestoPRIME Preservation Platform, an open source integration platform, and the industrial solution Rosetta, developed by Ex-Libris, which integrates many of the results of the project.

Day 3 concentrated on Predicting and Planning the Future. This essential aspect of Digital Preservation was presented from different approaches: Cost and Risk modelling, Service Management, Video Quality Assessment, Metadata Mapping and Validation and Management of User-Generated Metadata. This tools and methods contribute to the difficult task of decision-making and risk analysis.

Day 4 was the Industrial day; a showroom for audiovisual preservation technology with the presence of an important number of industry providers. A technical showcase was installed in the Ina premises, where industrials installed their different solutions and made demos as well as answered questions about technology and its evolution.

The participants:

Day 5 was dedicated to the future, getting into interesting topics like the situation of audiovisual research in Europe, the Europeana and Digibic projects, the development of digital humanities within archival studies, the future of 3D and its incidence in archiving. A very interesting presentation about use and reuse by educators and the public of archival material closed the week.

Different case-studies of advanced preservation and access projects were presented from Ina, BBC and B&G in the Netherlands. Memnon, from Belgium, presented another interesting case-study, regarding the use of Semantic metadata and Linked metadata. Finally a visit of the Ina premises and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, permitted participants to view how large institutions deal with the digital world in terms of preservation and access and how Legal Deposit is being organised in France.


Test-Workshop, London - 19 - 22 October 2010

A whole week in October 2010 has been dedicated to concerted evaluation of the current status of developments in the technical WPs in PrestoPRIME. More than 25 members from all archive-partners and several developing-partners in the project attended the workshop, which took place at BBC Centre House in London. Main focus of this event was to gain a most complete overview for both archive-partners (= users) and the technical partners in the project responsible for development on the current status of all tools, methods and related developments in PrestoPRIME. Since this event was seen as "last chance" to detect and deal with aberration of developments from the needed and expected directions, a close collaboration and very open and straightforward discussions were main parts of this event. The status of most tools was still "prototype", so usability-tests were not planned in a narrower sense; nevertheless the user-partners were requested to address this issue whenever they feel the need to do so. This goes especially for the tools, were the development of "visualisation" of results etc. has been undertaken. To provide most input for the future consolidation of all tools in a concerted system (to be carried out in year 3), evaluation and tests were also carried out by members from those partners, who will be responsible for this task in the later course of the project. The developers were requested to write their own test-reports, addressing all issues raised by user-partners and other testers. This forced all partners to keep the wider purpose of their developments in mind and will strongly support the next steps in the project.


PrestoPRIME Meeting - Vienna, 5 - 6 October 2009

About 100 people with a common problem met on 5-6 October in Vienna. The problem is digital audiovisual content - the files that are the solution to some preservation problems, but which have their own problems: format change (we've been there before!), technical dependencies (we had that in the analogue days too), bit rot (we had deterioration of analogue media, but deterioration of digital media is also a real problem). We share some of these file-based problems with other areas (digital documents, scanned still images) -- and we have our own special problems of very large files, and formats used only in professional audiovisual work.

The PrestoPRIME project outlined its planned work in these areas on the Monday:

  • Daniel Teruggi – summary of the project
  • Richard Wright – audiovisual preservation strategies
  • Matthew Addis – implementing audiovisual preservation
  • Werner Bailer – digital access metadata
  • Walter Allasia - system integration
Then after a tea break, the final session was:
  • Marius Snyders and Beth Delaney – the Competence Centre: preserving PrestoPRIME

The second day was about listening -- to the real issues confronting the people at the workshop. We divided into four areas.

  1. problems with files -- particularly in a broadcast context
  2. service providers -- are they 'going digital'? What are their problems?
  3. access -- files are all very fine, but what are people doing with them?
  4. non-broadcast archives: broadcaster archives are very big, but 70% of European audiovisual content is in other collections (figures from TAPE study). What are their problems with digital content: technical, rights, services -- or money? (All archives have a problem getting enough funding)

The main result from the "problems with files" session was a plea for PrestoPRIME to develop a "path to the future" that told archives which formats and which technologies (encoders, decoders, players, wrappers) had the least problems, were best supported with (ideally) open-source, easy-to-use tools, and were the most 'future-proof'. There was also a clear interest in the proposed work on quality checking, to see if the video signal in a file had any defects.

The service providers attempted to define and measure 'trust'. Commercial service providers can help PrestoPRIME in this discussion, because of their experience building trusted relationships with their clients, but beyond third party recommendations 'trust' really only comes from experience.
Many institutions and organisations seem to have a level of concern, perhaps even suspicion, of commercial enterprises but in the instance of debating and assessing file formats in pursuit of technological solutions such service providers can bring their experience with a variety of different customers who each share common problems within their unique situations and for whom we deliver cost-effective solutions. And they are willing to do so.

Session 3 focused on issues around access to the contents of the archives. The benefits and issues arising from submitting the archives’ metadata to large content aggregators such as Europeana were explored. Large aggregators help direct more traffic to the content providers’ sites as they rank high in search engines and have the potential to provide multilingual and semantic functionalities that individual providers cannot possibly support.
Another topic addressed was that of user generated metadata. Their usefulness was acknowledged especially in cases where a collection lacks metadata, however, archives stressed the need for reliable ways to validate user generated content that is aimed at informing and enriching archival metadata.
Furthermore, to address the complexity of rights associated to a program, RAI is investigating ways to associate rights descriptions to any clip of the audiovisual content in a way that would give the opportunity to map rights to a timeline. Such a development would facilitate extremely the reuse of the archival content. Finally, approaches to enhance collaboration between small and large archives and broadcasters in sharing expertise and infrastructure on a mutual beneficial basis for preservation, digitization and online accessibility to archival content were discussed.

Non-broadcast archives – Their message, "We're not there yet!". The problem is still how to digitise analog material: difficulty with collection condition assessment, the lack of metadata and the need for a workflow approach in between the ‘factory’ and the ‘hospital’. They want this category to include more types of potential ‘archives’ – material in music conservatories, film schools, opera houses; want the Competence Center to play a ‘stewardship’ role, gathering the largest variety of tools available (including those outside PrestoSpace and PrestoPRIME) and explaining which resources are applicable in which context; and encourage the broadest dissemination possible through cooperation with national and regional organisations.

This workshop was a beginning. PrestoPRIME will complete a digital preservation strategy document, and a lot of other project planning work, by January. After an internal review, the strategy will be made public, and 2010 should see real work on creating tools to deal with digital preservation, and to improve access.

Europeana is a PrestoPRIME partner, and we are working with a range of other projects that all link to Europeana. Our goal regarding access is to get legacy metadata web-usable (by semantic linking and related work), and to get digital libraries to be 'audiovisual content usable' (with tools that use the time dimension for description, playback and annotation).

Another public workshop will be held in about nine months, possibly even further East in Europe than Vienna, where the first real results of PrestoPRIME will be presented.

Watch for further announcements!

All powerpoint presentations are available in a zip file here.
For file selection and details please, see here.


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