Saturday, October 24, 2015

The National Film Board’s CTO offers a close-up look at its digital archiving project

The National Film Board’s CTO offers a close-up look at its digital archiving project. Shane Schick. IT World Canada. October 16, 2015.
     The Canadian National Film Board has been putting together the technology, processes and policies to change the way films are produced, collected and stored. The NFB collection needs a particular set of metadata because of the versions produced.

Archiving digital content is an ongoing challenge for many organizations because the volume of content and also "the fact that formats change, and ensuring the long-term accessibility and quality can be uncertain". The organization tries to stay ahead of the difficulties by adhering to to four ‘golden rules’ of archiving. These include:
  1. There must be a process to continually check the integrity of the data which has been stored.
  2. Open file formats should be used whenever possible, in order to avoid frequent data migrations.
  3. Obsolescence of the storage hardware should be assumed as inevitable.
  4. Two copies of all content or media assets should be maintained on different technologies, in different locations, which is the "most critical" part.
While LTO tapes are often used in the industry, the organization uses ASG’s Digital Archive (based on Sony’s Optical Disk Array). These discs have a 50 year life expectancy. They still use LTO for backup, but now they have the optical element that they can go back to. “The archiving system allowed us to think beyond the film.”  The new way of thinking is very open. "We can ingest content as we produce it."  

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