Preliminary Results for the Ranking Stumbling Blocks for Video Preservation Survey

BinaryQuotes-Still3 by Nick Britz courtesy of <a href="https://flic.kr/p/5EMyfQ">Flickr</a> under a <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0 license</a>

BinaryQuotes-Still3 by Nick Britz courtesy of Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license

In a previous blog post, the NDSA Standards and Practices Working Group announced the opening of a survey to rank issues in preserving video collections. The survey closed on August 2, 2014 and while there’s work ahead to analyze the results and develop action plans, we can share some preliminary findings.

We purposely cast a wide net in advertising the survey so that respondents represented a range of institutions, experience and collections. About 54% of the respondents who started the survey answered all the required questions.

The blog post on The Signal was the most popular means to get the word out (27%) followed by the Association of Moving Image Archivists list (13%) and the NDSA-ALL list (11%). A significant number of respondents (25%) were directed to the survey through other tools including Twitter, Facebook, PrestoCentre Newsletter and the survey bookmarks distributed at the Digital Preservation 2014 meeting.

The vast majority of respondents who identified their affiliation were from the United States; other countries represented include Germany, Austria, England, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Chile.

BurnedDVD

Burned DVD by Roman Soto courtesy of Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license

The survey identified the top three stumbling blocks in preserving video as:

  • Getting funding and other resources to start preserving video (18%)
  • Supporting appropriate digital storage to accommodate large and complex video files (14%)
  • Locating trustworthy technical guidance on video file formats including standards and best practices (11%)

Respondents report that analog/physical media is the most challenging type of video (73%) followed by born digital (42%) and digital on physical media (34%).

PlayMeVHS

Evil Tape by Jeff Carter courtesy of Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license

Clearly, this high level data doesn’t tell the whole story and we have work ahead to analyze the results. Some topics we’d like to pursue include using the source of the survey invitation to better understand the context of the communities that answered the survey. Some respondents, such as those alerted to the survey through the announcement on the AMIA list, are expected to have more experience with preserving video than respondents directed to the survey from more general sources like Facebook or Twitter.

How do the responses from more mature programs compare with emerging programs? What can we learn from those who reported certain issues as “solved” within their institution? Might these solutions be applicable to other institutions? What about the institutions reporting that analog video is more challenging than born digital video? Are their video preservation programs just starting out? Do they have much born-digital video yet?

After we better understand the data, the NDSA Standards and Practices Working Group will start to consider what actions might be useful to help lower these stumbling blocks.  This may include following up with additional survey questions to define the formats and scopes of current and expected video collections. Stay tuned for a more detailed report about the survey results and next steps!

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