Preservation: how and where we do it
Meemoo is responsible for the sustainable preservation of the archive content provided. We ensure that files cannot be lost and that they remain intact right down to the very last bit.
Our archive infrastructure
In order to preserve the archive content safely, we save three copies of it in three different locations. These locations are chosen with attention to geographical distribution: we always store a copy of all archive masters in our data centres in Ghent and Oostkamp, and a third copy is kept offline in a specially equipped former nuclear bunker.
The archive masters are written to tape infrastructure: a sustainable, open and cost-efficient form of storage that’s very suitable for large volumes of archive content. We’ve also opted for open technology that enjoys broad support. Specifically, this means that an archivist with a local tape drive and laptop can read the files on tape using freely available software.
Two copies of the low-resolution copies are saved. The first is stored on servers in one of our data centres and is available online; this copy is used to view content in the archive system or access it online. The second copy functions as a backup and is saved in a cloud infrastructure. All these storage components have a limited lifespan, and technology is also always offering new possibilities. That’s why the entire infrastructure has a modular structure, so we can replace components when the end of their lifespan is approaching, or when better or more cost-efficient solutions become available.
Checking stored content
All storage media is monitored by a number of software components. This means that every time a file is read or modified, the integrity of the file is checked using the checksum, and the quality of the tape and tape drive is also verified. Other storage media uses similar processes, which are always designed to detect faults quickly, minimise the impact of any faults and repair them – automatically if possible.
Just like the import process, actions performed on the archive content (e.g. writing an archive master to a new storage medium) are saved as PREMIS events and sustainably preserved with the files as metadata.
Carrier types designed for audiovisual content often have different formats and their own player. And the same applies for digital content. There are currently dozens, if not hundreds, of different formats for audiovisual content. A suitable player is therefore always needed to be able to play a specific format. A file’s format is saved as metadata when it’s imported, which means we can keep an eye on the viability and sustainability of the various formats we save. If necessary, a file can be converted to a different format in close consultation with the content partners. And if the archive master is saved in an uncompressed or lossless compressed format, this can be done without losing any information.
This ensures the long-term preservation of the content, so there’s plenty of time to use it.