Preserving Video

Aspects of Long-Term Preservation

While all of the steps outlined in this guide contribute to the preservation of your videos, there are additional elements to consider when thinking in a long-term context:

Technological change

As you have likely experienced, technology changes rapidly and dramatically, and hardware does not last long. Even if your videos remain intact and uncorrupted in storage, at some point in the future they may become obsolete — unplayable because new machines and software will not be able to read them.

Long-term preservation involves not only maintaining the original, but also regularly refreshing it on new storage media and, for access, migrating to up-to-date formats or building software that can play the obsolete format.

Sustained commitment and investment

By definition, preservation requires ongoing resources. Whoever is going to preserve your videos has to be able to commit to investing what is necessary to retain, manage, and provide access over a long period of time. This includes technological and organizational infrastructure, skilled staff, financial resources, planning, and policies.

  • Digital preservation is never-ending and requires an ongoing commitment of resources.
  • Preserving videos requires regular refreshing on new storage media and migration to new usable formats.
  • Prioritize videos for preservation based on their archival value, uniqueness, contextualizing information, and whether you have rights to use them.
  • Most small organizations cannot do preservation on their own. Consider partnering with an archival institution.
Key Concept: Refreshing

Over time, video files need to be regularly moved to new storage media.
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Key Concept: Repository

A repository is the locus of long-term digital preservation.
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Key Concept: Obsolescence

Over time, file formats and storage media become unusable because the technology they rely on is unavailable.
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Key Concept: Migration

Over time, video files need to be transcoded to new formats to remain usable.
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Key Concept: Fixity

The long-term integrity of your original files is a fundamental goal of preservation.
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The Archiving Workflow

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