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Page history last edited by Amanda Focke 3 years, 2 months ago

Digital video preservation and access requires highly detailed problem solving in an environment with only emerging standards and many “moving” parts.


Fondren Library worked in 2012-2013 to make a collection of born-digital video oral histories, a part of Special Collections and Archives - Houston Asian American Archives (HAAA), available through its institutional repository, running DSpace software. The process required research at every step and the full participation of a team including a digital curation coordinator, two IR programmers, a digital media specialist and an archivist. We moved from broad strokes of research to successfully creating interim archival masters and sharing streaming copies online.


  • We looked as George Blood’s 2011 white paper as guidance on the nature of source materials, possibilities for masters and access files (Refining Conversion Contract Specifications: Determining Suitable Digital Video Formats for Medium-Term Storage. Unpublished paper presented at the 2011 Conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, Austin, TX. http://www.georgeblood.com/Resources.html)

  • Understanding the nature of our source materials, how they fit into George Blood’s white paper’s scenarios, how there is significant variety even with the born digital video category  (our broad strokes phase)

  • Options for archival masters and streaming access copies - understanding what’s good, better, best for each  - but what is sustainable here locally? (our broad strokes phase, starting to be fine tuned) - see outline of local decision points and research Master-comparison.docx

  • Tools - ffmpeg, ffmbc, and handbrake - fine tuning recipes for video and audio codec settings for both preservation copy and access copy (our fine tuning, localizing phase)

  • Problems - server space for testing, production, access, back-ups (our fine tuning, localizing phase) and setup of customized multi-terabyte media workstation

  • Figuring out streaming - hinting files for streaming, trying to use HTML5 to avoid needing a streaming server, needing a streaming server anyway, and then perhaps not need the streaming server after all (our fine tuning, localizing phase) for more info: Video Streaming in DSpace 



For detailed documentation on HAAA's implementation, visit HAAA overview 


Transcripts were created by Mr. Hieu Do in 2014 by recommendation of Ms. Nancy Bui of the VAHF, and have not been verified by staff at Rice University. Transcripts are posted online with the VAHF interviews.

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