Digital influx

Just like paper and other analogue carriers, digital files also have an uncertain future if we don’t pay sufficient attention to preserving them. The volumes of digital collections, the infrastructure they’re stored in and their available information all pose challenges in terms of sustainable preservation. Meemoo has therefore created the digital influx process for its content partners.

Digital collections can be just as diverse as analogue ones, and consist of both digitised and/or born-digital content. They can, for example, include video and audio clips as well as photos, games, GIFs, texts, social media and geographical maps.

A survey of our partners in 2016 showed that 75 percent of respondents were interested in sustainable storage for their digital collections, and 10 percent even said they wanted to include them in the meemoo archive system very urgently.

>> Read more about the survey here

Afbeelding: 'BalticServers Data Center', 2013, BalticServers.com, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.nl)

We launched a number of pilot projects in the years that followed to investigate digital influx as a way of coping with the demand for sustainable storage:

  • One of these pilot projects was to store digital images and audio from VRT. This Flemish national broadcaster produces 3TB of content every day, which has been continuously fed into the meemoo archive system since 2016. This means that our archive system now contains 8PB of VRT digital content – including a copy of their archived content from before 2016. So we have a copy of almost the entire VRT archive;

  • Another pilot project that laid the foundations for the so-called batch intake process was the influx (and making accessible) of digital collections from the Museum of Industry and House of Alijn;

  • We ran a third pilot project with regional broadcaster Focus-WTV, which also helped to shape the continuous influx process. Find out more about the difference between batch intake and continuous influx here.

These pilot projects resulted in us developing streamlined processes for receiving digital collections from our content partners. In 2020, for example, almost a million objects found their way to meemoo’s archive system via digital influx! Read here about the file types and formats we worked with.

In order to keep this influx from our various content partners manageable, we initially focused on single, static and audiovisual image content in the first phase. This therefore concerned objects consisting of just a single photo, video or audio file (also called the essence) with associated metadata. Since 2020, we’ve been developing a method for multiple objects, which should result in a standardised process by the end of 2022. These are objects where multiple files together form a single, coherent whole or ‘intellectual entity’ – such as newspapers, photos of the front and back of the same postcard, or multiple photos of the same 3D object (e.g. a bicycle).