The influx of digital collections
Just like paper or analogue carriers, digital files also have an uncertain future if not enough attention is not paid to their preservation. The volumes of digital collections, the infrastructure they’re stored in, and the available knowledge about them all pose challenges in terms of sustainable preservation.
That’s why we’ve run various pilot projects to develop a streamlined process for the influx of digital collections. As well as rescuing born-digital content, we can also safeguard our content partners’ earlier investments in digitisation projects by sustainably preserving the outcomes.
A survey of our partners in 2016 showed that 75% of respondents were interested in this sustainable storage for their digital collections, with 10% saying that inclusion in the meemoo archive system was very urgent. These digital collections are almost as diverse as analogue ones, and can be either the result of digitisation or born-digital. They can include videos and audio clips, but also photos, games, texts or maps, for example.
One of our digital influx pilot projects involved preserving digital images and audio from VRT. This Flemish national broadcaster produces 3TB of content every day, which has been constantly fed into the meemoo archive system since 2016. Together with a copy of the archive content from before 2016, this means our archive system now has 8PB of VRT digital content – a copy of almost the entire VRT archive.
In order to keep the influx from our various content partners manageable, we focus on single, static and audiovisual image content in the first phase. This means that it concerns objects that consist of a single photo, video or audio file with associated metadata. We’re currently developing a method for multiple objects, which should lead to a standardised process in the course of 2021.