A Primer on Codecs for Moving Image and Sound Archives: 10 Recommendations for Codec Selection and Management

AudioVisual Preservation Solutions has released A Primer on Codecs for Moving Image and Sound Archives: 10 Recommendations for Codec Selection and Management.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

One area of great concern for the integrity and persistence of digital audio and video files is the selection of file formats and codecs… Though this is also an area where there is a great lack of certainty and clarity on the issue.

This paper by Chris Lacinak lays out a clear explanation of what codecs are, how they are used, and what their selection and application means to archives. Also provided are 10 recommendations that will help you in the selection and management of codecs in an archival setting.

Digging into Data Challenge Projects Funded

JISC has announced that eight projects have been awarded Digging into Data Challenge grants.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"Data mining and analysis are not just for scientists" is the message coming strongly out of an international JISC-funded competition, the "Digging into Data Challenge."

Entrants have been challenged to answer the question "what would you do with a million books? Or a million pages of newspapers? Or a million photographs of artworks?" That is, how can analysis done over immense quantities of digital data be employed in humanities and social science research? What would you do with a million books? Or a million pages of newspapers? Or a million photographs of artworks?

Eight international research teams from the UK, US and Canada will be using a variety of data analysis tools to demonstrate that techniques currently used in the sciences can leverage open, new avenues for scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.

The winners of the competition are announced today by the four leading research agencies sponsoring the competition: JISC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), both of the United States.

Investment from the four agencies together amounts to over a million pounds, allowing new links to be forged across the different countries, as well as breaking down disciplinary boundaries.

Here are the funded projects

  • Data Mining with Criminal Intent: George Mason University, University of Alberta, and University of Hertfordshire
  • Digging into Image Data to Answer Authorship Related Questions: Michigan State University, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and University of Sheffield
  • Digging into the Enlightenment: Mapping the Republic of Letters: University of Oklahoma, University of Oxford, and Stanford University
  • Harvesting Speech Datasets for Linguistic Research on the Web: McGill University and Cornell University
  • Mining a Year of Speech: University of Oxford and University of Pennsylvania
  • Railroads and the Making of Modern America—Tools for Spatio-Temporal Correlation, Analysis, and Visualization: University of Portsmouth and University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Structural Analysis of Large Amounts of Music Information: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, University of Southampton, and McGill University
  • Towards Dynamic Variorum Editions: Mount Allison University, Imperial College, London, and Tufts University

Multimedia Deposits: Complications and Considerations with Intellectual Property Rights

The Welsh Repository Network has released Multimedia Deposits: Complications and Considerations with Intellectual Property Rights .

Here's an excerpt:

The purpose of this learning object is to explore the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) that may be within multimedia items, and to highlight some of the complications and considerations that need to be taken into account before a deposit of this type can be made into a repository.

Following two short introductions to multimedia and to copyright, questions are then posed on some of the details of copyright within varying item types. Feedback on, and an explanation to, the question's answers are given. Also included is a short exercise looking at what needs to be taken into consideration before allowing a performance video item into a repository. The learning object concludes with a look at Performers' Rights and highlights what repository staff should be aware of in regard to this IPR within potential repository deposits.

Also available as a Zip file.

Indiana University Bloomington Media Preservation Survey

Indiana University Bloomington has released its Media Preservation Survey.

Here's an excerpt:

The survey task force recommends a number of actions to facilitate the time-critical process of rescuing IUB’s audio, video, and film media.

  • Appoint a campus-wide taskforce to advise
    • the development of priorities for preservation action
    • the development of a campus-wide preservation plan
    • how units can leverage resources for the future
  • Create a centralized media preservation and digitization center that will serve the entire campus, using international standards for preservation transfer. As part of the planning for this center, hire a
    • media preservation specialist
    • film archivist
  • Develop special funding for the massive and rapid digitization of the treasures of IU over the next 10 years.
  • Create a centralized physical storage space appropriate for film, video, and audio.
  • Provide archival appraisal and control across campus to
    • assure quality of digitization for preservation
    • oversee plans for maintaining original media
  • Develop cataloging services for special collections to improve intellectual control to
    • accelerate research opportunities
    • improve access.

CONTENTdm Image Viewer: dmMonocle 1.0 Released

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries have released dmMonocle 1.0.

Here's an excerpt from the project page:

dmMonocle is a stand-alone image viewer for CONTENTdm® collections, intended as a replacement for the default image viewer provided with CONTENTdm® 4.x and 5.x. The goal of the project is to make CONTENTdm® images, such as photos, maps, and scanned documents, easier to view and navigate. dmMonocle is written in JavaScript using jQuery, and provides patrons with the ability to zoom, pan, and rotate images on the fly without reloading the entire page. dmMonocle slices up large images into smaller square tiles, loading only the tiles in the visible area, much like Google Maps. In addition to the improved main viewing area, dmMonocle provides a thumbnail-sized navigator, showing patrons which part of the larger image they are viewing. The navigator may also be used to quickly move around an image

"Systems for Managing Digital Media Collections"

JISC Digital Media has released "Systems for Managing Digital Media Collections."

Here's an excerpt :

Everyone's collection and context is unique, so your choice of a system (or systems) for managing your media will require a careful assessment of your needs and resources and an evaluation of the available options. This paper provides an overview of a number of different approaches to digital media management: from some very cheap and 'low-tech' approaches to much more complex and specialised solutions. Another paper in this series discusses some of the commonly available functionality in more detail and raises some key questions to consider when choosing a system . . .

We have given more than thirty examples of systems below, with links to further descriptions on JISC Digital Media's website or to external sites. These examples are not meant to be exhaustive or to imply any sort of endorsement or criticism: they are offered for information purposes only. This is a competitive and fast-changing environment, in which new versions are pushed out, new systems emerge, and last year's cutting-edge features become standard issue.

Omeka Image Annotation Plugin 1.0 Beta

The Center for History and New Media, George Mason University has released the Image Annotation Plugin 1.0 beta for Omeka.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

Have you ever wanted to annotate your images on Omeka like you can on Flickr?

Now you can with the beta release of Omeka's Image Annotation plugin! Using an adaptation of Chris Woods' jQuery plugin, jquery-image-annotate, Omeka's new Image Annotation plugin allows users to add textual annotations to images. To add an image annotation, users select a region of the image and then attach a textual description.

Sound Archives Film Image Repository Project: SAFIR Final Report

JISC has released the Sound Archives Film Image Repository Project's SAFIR Final Report.

Here's an excerpt:

The SAFIR project has achieved what it set out to do, to begin the task of building a multimedia repository infrastructure for the University of York. The project has successfully implemented software for the storage layer (Fedora Commons), along with an interface (Muradora) and has populated that repository with a pilot collection of images. It has implemented a degree of access control, developed metadata profiles, recommendations, policies, licences and copyright clearance procedures, implemented a basic level of interoperability and gathered knowledge and expertise. SAFIR has been a success although there is much more work ahead at York. There is a balance to be struck between taking time to consult and absorb best practice in order to make the best, sustainable decisions and the pressures of immediate needs and project deadlines. Having a JISC deadline has kept the project focussed and although we have tried to ensure that the right decisions were made, we may have sacrificed "best possible" in order to meet an immediate need, for example in our metadata profile decisions or our use of Muradora as an interface. In choosing open source software, in particular Fedora Commons, our development and implementation path is made longer, but the benefits of increased flexibility, building sustainable in-house skill and working in the wider context were seen to outweigh the benefits offered by a commercial solution. Whether this was the right decision remains to be seen, but the enthusiasm and commitment of the Digital Library team have galvanised around that decision. We have already faced a number of technical delays because of unforeseeable issues with the software and we must continue to ensure that sufficient development time is allocated to tasks. We have significant concerns about the maturity and support of some of the software tested for the project. Managing expectations and working with users is an ongoing process and requires significant attention.

djatoka Version 1.1/djatoka Viewer Version 2.0 Released

djatoka version 1.1 and djatoka Viewer version 2.0 have been released.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

djatoka is a Java-based open source image server with an attractive basic feature set and extensibility under control of the community of implementers. Off-the-shelf, djatoka provides compression and region extraction of JPEG 2000 images, URI-addressability of regions, and support for a rich set of input/output image formats (e.g., BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, PNM, TIF, JPEG 2000). djatoka also comes with a plug-in framework that allows transformations to be applied to regions and resolutions (e.g., watermarking).

Presentations from SCARP Workshop: Building and Curating Online Video Corpora

Presentations from the SCARP Workshop: Building and Curating Online Video Corpora are now available.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

This was a meeting of researchers and stakeholders in data service provision to discuss curation issues raised in our SCARP case study on the roles and re-usability of video data in social studies of interaction. This event aimed to raise mutual awareness of research communities' practices and needs for archiving, sharing and re-using digital video data; and identify how local and national research data services may contribute to the infrastructure for video data curation.

Digital Archiving of Audio Content Using WINISIS and Greenstone Software: A Manual for Community Radio Managers

UNESCO has released Digital Archiving of Audio Content Using WINISIS and Greenstone Software: A Manual for Community Radio Managers.

Here's an excerpt:

This self-instructional Manual describes:

  1. the method of creation of digital archive with WINISIS software,
  2. the creation of a web front-end for the above archives to make it easily usable and accessible over a local area network with GenIsisWeb software,
  3. the creation of a CD-ROM library with WINISIS and GenIsisCD software,
  4. the creation of a digital library of audio documents with Greenstone digital library software. . . .

The mechanisms described in this Manual can be used for managing not only audio documents, but also other types of digital documents such as text, PDF, HTML and video.

First Digital Curation Centre SCARP Case Study Released on Brain Image Preservation

The first Digital Curation Centre SCARP (Sharing Curation and Re-use Preservation) case study has been released: Curating Brain Images in a Psychiatric Research Group: Infrastructure and Preservation Issues.

Here's the description:

Curating neuroimaging research data for sharing and re-use involves practical challenges for those concerned in its use and preservation. These are exemplified in a case study of the Neuroimaging Group in the University of Edinburgh’s Division of Psychiatry. The study is one of the SCARP series encompassing two aims; firstly to discover more about disciplinary approaches and attitudes to digital curation through 'immersion' in selected cases, in this case drawing on ethnographic field study. Secondly SCARP aims to apply known good practice, and where possible to identify new lessons from practice in the selected discipline areas; in this case using action research to assess risks to the long term reusability of datasets, and identify challenges and opportunities for change.

Digital New Zealand's Coming Home Memory Maker: Users Remix Media to Create Digital Videos

Digital New Zealand has released its Coming Home Memory Maker, which allows users to remix historic digital media.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The Memory Maker is an interactive online video remix tool, that lets people mix historical film footage, digitised photographs and objects, and music/audio clips into a 60 second video that can then be saved, shared, and embedded on other sites.

ETC-Press Launches at Carnegie Mellon University Publishing Works Under Creative Commons Licenses

The Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University has launched ETC-Press, which will publish books and other works under either the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivativeWorks-NonCommercial or the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Here's an excerpt from the About ETC Press page:

We publish books, but we’re also interested in the participatory future of content creation across multiple media. We are an academic, open source, multimedia, publishing imprint affiliated with the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and in partnership with Lulu.com. ETC Press has an affiliation with the Institute for the Future of the Book, sharing in the exploration of the evolution of discourse. ETC Press also has an agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to place ETC Press publications in the ACM Digital Library. . . .

We are looking to develop a range of texts and media that are innovative and insightful. We are interested in creating projects with Sophie, and we will accept submissions and publish work in a variety of media (textual, electronic, digital, etc.).

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video Released

American University's Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property has released the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video.

Here's an excerpt from the "Introduction."

This is a guide to current acceptable practices, drawing on the actual activities of creators, as discussed among other places in the study Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video. . . and backed by the judgment of a national panel of experts. It also draws, by way of analogy, upon the professional judgment and experience of documentary filmmakers, whose own code of best practices has been recognized throughout the film and television businesses. . .

Isilon's IQ Clustered Storage System Chosen by Michigan and Rice for Digital Repository Storage

Isilon Systems has announced that its IQ Clustered Storage System will be used to support the Michigan Digitization Project and the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive.

Here's an excerpt from the press release about Michigan:

Isilon Systems . . . today announced that the University of Michigan (U-M) has selected Isilon's IQ clustered storage system as the primary repository for its Michigan Digitization Project. In partnership with Google, the University of Michigan and its Michigan Digitization Project are digitizing more than 7.5 million books, ensuring these valuable resources are available to the public into perpetuity. This enormous undertaking includes the storage of digital copies of all unique books within the libraries of the entire Big-Ten Conference and directly supports Google Book Search, which aims to create a single, comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages. The University of Michigan, in partnership with Indiana University (IU), is leveraging Isilon's IQ clustered storage system to create a Shared Digital Repository (SDR) of the universities' published library materials. Using Isilon IQ, U-M and IU are able consolidate digital copies of millions of books into one, single, shared pool of storage to meet the rapidly growing storage demand of its massive book digitization project. . . .

In conjunction with the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC), an academic partnership formed by the universities of the Big-Ten Conference and the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and Indiana University are working to create a Shared Digital Repository (SDR) which will mirror the content from U-M and the CIC libraries found in Google Book Search. Using Isilon IQ clustered storage, featuring its OneFS® operating system software, U-M has eliminated disparate data silos to create a shared pool of storage for the digitization efforts of these partner institutions. Each digitized book is approximately 55 MB in size, downloading at a rate of 3 MB/second, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the entire six year duration of the project. Isilon IQ reduces storage management time, enabling U-M to accelerate the book scanning process, preserve valuable materials, and ultimately expand the research and learning capabilities for millions of users across the globe.

Here's an excerpt from the press release about Rice:

Isilon . . . today announced that Rice University has selected Isilon's IQ clustered storage system as its central repository for digital multimedia, including video of selected speeches by international dignitaries and musical performances from the Shepherd School of Music. In an effort to preserve the many historic events held at these prestigious venues and ensure the productions are available to the public into perpetuity, Rice has deployed Isilon clustered storage to consolidate hundreds of recorded musical performances and keynote speeches into a single, highly scalable and reliable shared pool of storage for the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive, an institutional repository based on the DSpace software platform. . . .

Through a cooperative effort between Rice University's Digital Library Initiative, Fondren Library and Central IT department, the university has created a central repository for all its critical multi-media content, enabling a variety of departments to execute on vital, content-driven projects simultaneously, activity that was impossible with traditional storage. Prior to using Isilon IQ, Rice's storage management for the Digital Scholarship archiving system was unable to effectively support management of large digital video and audio files that required streaming for delivery. These assets, therefore, were stored on a variety of streaming servers by various groups across campus, creating multiple access bottlenecks that led to inefficient storage management and undue IT cost and complexity. By unifying all of its digital content onto one, easy to use, "pay as you grow" clustered storage system, Rice University has removed costly data access and management barriers and dramatically simplified its storage architecture. Additionally, using Isilon's SmartQuotas provisioning and quota management software application, Rice is also storing its Language Center's multi-media course work and its Central IT department's webcasts on Isilon IQ, delivering immediate, concurrent data access to multiple users and user groups, further reducing storage management costs to maximize system efficiency.

Rice University will stream its collection of musical performances from the Shepherd School, as well as its video library of the many world leaders and dignitaries that have spoken at the Baker Institute, to thousands of users online. This operation necessitates the use of multiple media servers, using Windows, Quicktime and Real Player formats. Isilon clustered storage communicates natively over CIFS, NFS FTP, and HTTP, as well as interoperating with Windows, Mac and Linux environments, enabling seamless integration with Rice's variety of server formats and enabling all content to be streamed from one, central, easily and immediately accessible storage system. With Isilon IQ, Rice's entire collection of multi-media is accessible to all its servers 24x7x365, ensuring that the media streaming operations are not only efficient and cost-effective, but prepared to meet high user demand.

Project Reports from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's 2008 Research in Information Technology Retreat

Project reports from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's 2008 Research in Information Technology retreat are now available.

Here are selected project briefing reports:

Audiovisual Research Collections and Their Preservation Published

TAPE (Training for Audiovisual Preservation in Europe) has published Audiovisual Research Collections and Their Preservation.

Here's an excerpt from the introduction:

Digital technology has conquered audiovisual production, post-processing, and archiving. Audio has totally become part of the IT world, and video is about to follow the same way. All dedicated audio formats are dead, and soon the same will be the case for video formats. The pace by which dedicated audio and video formats are becoming obsolete is breathtaking. The problem is not so much the survival of the original documents, but the availability of highly specialised replay equipment which disappears from the market soon after a format has been abandoned commercially. Today audiovisual archives associations estimate the time window still open for the transfer of dedicated analogue and digital carriers into digital repositories to be not more than just 20 years.

Ball State University Libraries Move Ahead with Ambitious Digital Initiative Program

The Ball State Libraries have nurtured an ambitious digital initatives program that has established an institutional repository, a CONTENTdm system for managing digital assets, a Digital Media Repository with over 102,000 digital objects, a Digitization Center and Mobile Digitization Unit, an e-Archives for university records, and a virtual press (among other initiatives). Future goals are equally ambitious.

Read more about it at "Goals for Ball State University Libraries' Digital Initiative."

Open Source Multimedia Document Creation and Reading Tool: Sophie Version 1.0 Released

The Institute for the Future of the Book has released version 1.0 of Sophie, an open source tool for creating and reading multimedia networked documents.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

Sophie is software for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment.

Sophie’s goal is to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of people and institutions and in so doing to redefine the notion of a book or "academic paper" to include both rich media and mechanisms for reader feedback and conversation in dynamic margins.

Read more about Sophie at "Sophie Project Gets $1 Million from Macarthur Foundation," the Sophie documentation, and the Sophie tutorials.

Vertov Plug-in Brings Digital Audio/Video Annotation to Zotero

Concordia University’s Digital History Lab has released Vertov, an open-source Zotero plug-in that allows users to create clips from digital audio or video files, annotate them, and include the annotations in Zotero.

Read more about it at "Vertov: A Media Annotating Plugin for Zotero" and "Vertov Brings Video Annotation to Zotero."

Preserving Mixed Analog/Digital AV Archives: PrestoSpace Project Case Study

The Digital Curation Centre has published DCC Case Study—PrestoSpace: Preservation towards Storage and Access. Standardised Practices for Audiovisual Contents in Europe.

Here's the "Executive Summary":

Explicit strategies are needed to manage 'mixed' audio visual (AV) archives that contain both analogue and digital materials. The PrestoSpace Project brings together industry leaders, research institutes, and other stakeholders at a European level, to provide products and services for effective automated preservation and access solutions for diverse AV collections. The Project’s main objective is to develop and promote flexible, integrated and affordable services for AV preservation, restoration, and storage with a view to enabling migration to digital formats in AV archives.