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DigiCULT
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Info
45
many radio and TV companies have gone
out of business or been disrupted by war.
So there was a recognised need for data
standards and data sharing.
T
he host archive, Beeld en Geluid
(Netherlands Institute of Sound and
Vision, http://www.beeldengeluid.nl), has
been leading work on AV metadata stand-
ards. They are currently reformatting their
entire catalogue, to conform to the IFLA
representation. They have also produced a
comprehensive review and guide to meta-
data. This work shows what progress can be
achieved, and will inform the PrestoSpace
metadata activity.
Film
Two presentations were made specifi-
cally about the needs of film, by Thomas
Christensen of the Danish Film Institute
(http://www.dfi.dk) and Giovanna Fossati
of the Netherlands Filmmuseum (http://
www.filmmuseum.nl/). Thomas explained
how a film archive without film loses all
sense of meaning, and showed the steps
they had taken in Denmark to ensure a
future, for at least the next few hundred
years, of film preserved on film. The main
action was providing low-temperature and
humidity storage below freezing for the
material which has already shown signs of
chemical change. Film conservation falls
outside the scope of PrestoSpace activ-
ity, which was assumed to concentrate on
digital processes. Nevertheless, Giovanna
showed that there were three areas where
she hoped PrestoSpace would provide help
to their film collection:
Cost-effective preparation of access
copies: DVD provides new forms of film
archive access for both public showings
and for commercial sales. However, film
needs to be digitised in order to produce
a DVD. The PrestoSpace work in cost-
effective digitisation is immediately rele-
vant to DVD production by film archives.
Storage for the digital data (digital inter-
mediate format) that film archives cre-
ate when performing digital restoration.
Digital processing has been accepted as
a main technology for film restoration
and involves making huge digital files as
a first step. Archives would like to keep
these files, but face the problems men-
tioned above under Format, i.e. no sim-
ple and cheap media on which to store
the data.
General information on storage,
covering DVD, mass storage for digital
intermediates, and covering the evolu-
tion of technology and cost. Storage is
in the midst of a revolution, where `spin-
ning discs' are becoming not only the
high-performance method of storage
but also the cheapest, and include novel
methods for achieving security (such as
arrays of storage modules) that are una-
vailable with past AV media. All archives,
from paper-based to film-based, will have
growing needs for digital storage as a
parallel activity to conservation of their
originals and PrestoSpace can provide
useful information on the evolution of
digital storage.
IMMEDIATE ACTIONS
P
restoSpace has prepared a detailed
questionnaire in order to deter-
mine the preservation status of European
AV material, and to find out what collec-
tion holders are doing and plan to do in
the future. Some archives received `pre-
view' copies of the questionnaire before the
meeting, and some preliminary results were
available to guide discussion. Participants
were encouraged to complete their ques-
tionnaires, and to circulate them as widely
as possible. PrestoSpace will collect results
in May, and these results will determine
the future course of the project. A simpli-
fied form of the questionnaire is online
at http://prestospace.org/questionnaire/
index.php?sid=3. All parties with an inter-
est in AV material are encouraged to send
in a response. In addition to identifying the
requirements of archives, there is a specific
section for companies that provide digiti-
sation and restoration services to archives.
These are the companies that can work
with the PrestoSpace project to launch
Preservation Factory services.
THE PRESTOSPACE PLAN:
Better Faster Cheaper
The basic idea of PrestoSpace is that the
technical processes involved in AV preserva-
tion need to be improved, or precious cul-
tural heritage will be unnecessarily lost. The
desired improvement is to make the servic-
es higher in quality, faster, and still cheaper.
The method is the factory approach: mass
production, involving significant investment
in automation. This investment is beyond
the reach of a small AV collection, hence
the need for PrestoSpace to work with the
commercial `facility house' sector. It was
very gratifying that several such companies
attended the Amsterdam meeting, includ-
ing specialists in audio, video and film.
Structure of PrestoSpace
Even `better faster cheaper' preservation is
expensive. It would be a fantastic success if
Karin Westerink from Beeld en Geluid
Daniel Teruggi speaking at the meeting

Richar
d
Wr
ight,

2004

Richar
d
Wr
ight,

2004