by Carla Arton, Director of Technical Operations for Film, Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, Indiana University
In 2015, Indiana University launched the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI) aimed at digitally preserving and making accessible 280,000 audio and video items held across the Bloomington and regional campuses. In 2017, IU announced and launched the second phase, the digital preservation of 12,500 hours of film (more than 25,000 reels, or 22 Petabytes, from the over 100,000 reels held on campus) to be completed within three years to coincide with the IU 2020 Bicentennial.
Seven months into this new phase, we have moved from testing to production with our on-site vendor, Memnon Archiving Services, and have digitized over 1,400 reels (over 500 hours). Along the way we have overcome multiple implementation challenges and hired a team of specialists and graduate students to support our already extensive network of full time staff across multiple IU departments. We have renovated workspace and purchased and installed equipment, workstations and production software, as well as developed new infrastructure systems and adapted existing ones to handle the large archival information packages of preservation, production and access files (1.5 Terabytes per hour of 2k resolution).
Here is an overview of what we have accomplished during these first months of the film part of the project:
July 2017 -September 2017
- Hired Quality Control and Post-Production Specialists, Assistant Film Archivists, Preparation and Returns Manager, multiple hourly graduate assistants.
- Launched an internally built Film Database for the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive (IULMIA) and integrated it with MDPI’s Physical Object Database (POD) for selection, preparation, work order creation, and physical tracking.
- Renovated workspace, purchased and installed film inspection equipment as well as hardware and software for quality control and post-production/restoration suites.
- Adapted post-processing infrastructure to accommodate film specific file ingest, automatic quality control checks, incorporated manual QC software, and derivative creation for online streaming.
- Delivered first physical batches to the vendor and successfully received and archived first scans into the digital archive from IULMIA’s educational reference print collection.
October 2017 – January 2018
- Hired a Film Digitization Specialist, post-production Catalogers, and hourly Copyright Research Assistants.
- Identified and resolved scanner and production workflow issues; refined physical and digital workflows.
- Successfully carried out first film restoration and ingest into the digital archive.
- Implemented an On-Demand scanning workflow for current researchers and screening events.
- Began scanning pre-production film elements from the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive.
- Hit 1,000th reel milestone.
As we move forward into the project, we will bring in films from other special collections on campus, further adapt scanning workflows and increase production speed to meet our ambitious three year goal.
Future blog posts on the film phase will highlight individual stages of the workflow and the collections being preserved. In the meantime, check out the Moving Image Archive’s Instagram to see images of films being inspected and prepared for digitization.