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Photograph of a group of people seated around a U shaped conference table, with a screen displaying a slide presentation in the center of the photo.
In-person participants at the FADGI meeting at the Smithsonian Institutions, Capital Gallery, April 18, 2024. Image courtesy of Siobhan Hagan, AVMPI.

FADGI News: Recap of Recent Projects and Publications

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Today’s guest post is from Kate Murray, a Digital Projects Coordinator in Digital Collections Management and Services, and Charlie Hosale, an Archivist in the American Folklife Center, both from the Library of Congress.

The Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) AudioVisual Working Group has been hard at work since our last meeting recap from spring 2023 when we met for the first time in-person since the pandemic began. FADGI meetings are really where our ethos of being a “cooperative and collaborative” group shines through. Audio not working on the Zoom? Someone can fix that. Need an outlet before your laptop dies while you are screensharing? Here, take this one. Can you do a presentation about this complex project on short notice? Yep, and with slides. Perhaps our favorite part is welcoming FADGI first timers – they are greeted with a heartfelt round of applause and a warm reception. And maybe an assignment for a project…

FADGI Meetings in the Wild

To catch you up since our last post, we’ve returned to our typical schedule of two hybrid meetings a year with lots of virtual working subgroup meetings as needed. In October 2023, we visited the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center for a tour of those amazing facilities before our meeting. And in April 2024, we had a lovely day out for ourselves with a trip to the Smithsonian Library and Archives’ new Audiovisual Media Preservation Initiative (AVMPI) digitization and processing space, working meeting and even BYO lunch on their rooftop deck. With over 35 people in person and another 25 attending virtually, the meeting included representatives from across the Library of Congress as well as the FBI, National Library of Medicine, Architect of the Capital, various Smithsonian Institutions including the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian’s Library and Archives, and OCIO among many others. We are already planning our next one for the fall and we’ll likely be back at the mothership, the Library of Congress, for a joint meeting with our pals in the FADGI Still Image Working Group.

Photo of a man standing in front of a large videotape player machine, with an integrated and external monitor displaying a woman's face from the neck up.
NAVCC Video Lab supervisor Morgan Morel explaining workflows in front of a 2-inch quadruplex videotape (also called 2″ quad video tape or quadraplex) player. Image courtesy of Jesse Hocking, Library of Congress/AFC.

Our agenda for the spring 2024 meeting was packed as usual. We had a few big announcements including the publication of two new guidelines open for public comment. The official deadline for comments has passed but, honestly, we welcome feedback at any time to [email protected].

Photograph of a group of people seated around a U shaped conference table, with a screen displaying a slide presentation in the center of the photo.
In-person participants at the FADGI meeting at the Smithsonian Institutions, Capital Gallery, April 18, 2024. Image courtesy of Siobhan Hagan, AVMPI.
New Guidelines Published

Guidelines for IRENE System Products for Long Term Retention: Deliverable Packages for Imaged Audio Systems defines the final package for audio content digitized through an imaged audio system. These are the files resultant at the end of the process, often handed off to the client. This document does not cover all files created or used during the process but rather the final results which should be maintained for the long term. While much of this guideline is specific to the Project IRENE (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.) system, the guideline can be applicable to other imaged audio systems as well. Some of the highlights of this guideline include using BigTIFF as the primary preservation file, defining a set of TIFF tags for project use and suggestions for bundling the delivered package as ZIP, tar or BagIt bags for system ingest. Full details about the project, including project participants, are available at the project homepage.

Screenshot of metadata text for a WebVTT file.
Screen grab of sample embedded metadata conforming to the new Guidelines for Embedding Metadata in WebVTT Files guidelines.

Guidelines for Embedding Metadata in WebVTT Files defines guidelines for embedding metadata in headers of WebVTT files, also known as the Web Video Text Tracks Format, for the carriage of caption and timecode data. The WebVTT format is standardized by W3C and is a time-indexed, text-based file format that is intended for marking up external text track resources in connection with the HTML track element, specifically HTML 5. This project, led by Charlie Hosale on behalf of the FADGI Accessibility Subgroup, recognizes that provenance, administrative history, and contextual information are often lacking from WebVTT captions, subtitles, and descriptive audio files. Inspired by past recommendations for DPX and BWF metadata, FADGI established this simple set of metadata for WebVTT files. The fields and values help patrons and collection administrators understand what kind of data a WebVTT contains, from where it came, and when, where, and how it was made. Full details about the project, including project participants, are available at the project homepage.

A reminder that as always, FADGI guidelines are available free of charge and carry a CC0 1.0 Universal license for worldwide use and reuse. FADGI thanks all the project contributors and welcomes comments from the community.

Open-source Software Support

We also discussed other recent work including FADGI sponsored work for open-source software development and maintenance for BWF MetaEdit, FFmpeg and vrecord. FADGI had been supporting BWF MetaEdit and related FFmpeg work for a few years but starting in 2024, we are adding vrecord to the mix. We have a few specific areas of focus but a priority for vrecord is to add support for concurrent proxy creation (especially but not limited to creating MP4 files concurrently while it is creating FFV1/MKV files). Also new this year is a focus on transparency and community engagement through tracking work on the respective GitHub Issue Trackers for each project with a “FADGI” label to indicate which issues FADGI is sponsoring and funding. You can follow along at home at the following GitHub Issue Trackers for vrecord, BWF MetaEdit and FFmpeg (full disclosure that the FFmpeg tracker is a local instance hosted by our friends at MediaArea while they engage with the wider FFmpeg community).

Screenshot from GitHub displaying a list of three reported issues with the FADGI label.
Screenshot of GitHub issue tracker for vrecord with FADGI label.

We had a demo of new accessibility features in embARC from the Software Accessibility for Open Source Digital Preservation Applications project. We are just thrilled with the impact and outcomes from this research work and seeing the real-world adjustments incorporated into embARC is really gratifying. You can keep track of our continued work on embARC’s GitHub Issue Tracker.

Yes, and …

We’re in the early stages of revising the Digitizing Motion Picture Film: Exploration of the Issues and Sample SOW which was last updated in 2016 so, yeah, it’s time. The high-level goal for the 2024 FADGI Film Digitization Guidelines Project is to document detailed descriptions of film digitization workflows for both preservation and access. The core section of the Guidelines will be a set of tables that depict the preservation and access digitization workflows as a sequence of decisions a user may make when planning and executing a digitization project. Generally, the Guidelines will break down film digitization workflows into three aspects: inputs, or the source films to be digitized; the actions that make up the digitization process; and outputs, or the resulting files. Much more on this project to come as the details get worked out. The 2024 FADGI Film Digitization Guidelines Project is led by Brett Scheuermann and Criss Austin from NARA.

Finally, we have decided it’s time to revisit some of our earlier work regarding born digital video, especially the DRAFT Significant Properties for Digital Video (notice the all caps for the word DRAFT – this is not a typo but rather an indication of its state of incompleteness at the moment) as well as Creating and Archiving Born Digital Video (which was Kate’s very first leadership project for FADGI a full decade ago!). Born digital video is a hot topic so the time is right for us to reexamine and revise these works as needed, and maybe even add some new resources to fill in community-identified gaps. We’ll keep you posted as these projects develop.

While active participation in FADGI is limited to staff at US federal agencies as well as selected contractors and partners for specific projects, we welcome feedback on all our work. Drop a comment here or send us a note. #fadgi4eva!


  1. Keep up the great work!! We use BWF MetaEdit every day and could not live without it.

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