Any information about a video: from technical information embedded in the file that allows the video to function, such as format and duration, to descriptive information about the content to help you understand or find it–such as keywords, security restrictions, geographic locations, and so on. Metadata is critical to any future use, and is important throughout the archiving process.
Despite what is sometimes said, images almost never speak for themselves. They require context and description to make sense, to corroborate their factuality, and to be accessible beyond one person’s memory or desktop.
Metadata can be automatically generated and embedded in the file, such as with technical metadata, or it can be manually recorded on an external medium, such as with descriptions, security flags, and keywords in a database. Metadata capture sometimes needs to be manually enabled on your device, such as with GPS or location services.
The quality of having all of the information a record contained when it was created, and that its original context is maintained. Incomplete records are not as reliable as complete ones, since one might not know what information is missing and why. Transcoding a video to another format can reduce the image quality and discard metadata, making the video less complete and therefore less reliable. Keeping original video files, documenting context, and organizing videos in a way that maintains the original order of video files contributes to the completeness of the video records.
The quality of being genuine, not fake or counterfeit, and free from tampering. Authenticity means that an object was actually created by the person represented as its creator, and that it was actually created at the time and place that is represented as its time and place of creation. Video footage that has been manipulated or altered but is represented as if it had not been, for example, is not authentic.
To authenticate a video means to verify the relationship between it and its creator and point of creation. Documentation about who created something, when and where it was created, and the chain of custody can provide a starting point for this authentication process.
In the digital realm, the “original file” is any copy of a file that is exactly the same (i.e. bit-for-bit) as the file in question when it was created. This means that there are no accidental or deliberate alterations to any aspect of the file, including its format and technical specifications.
A term derived from “malicious software,” and that refers to all computer viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware.
The process of identifying materials to be acquired, or to be preserved, because of their enduring value. Having selection criteria, or a selection policy, helps ensure you acquire and save only what is most important.
Chain of Custody
Chronological documentation that shows who has held or controlled a video file from the moment it was created. The ability to show an unbroken chain of custody is one important indicator of the authenticity of a video, and therefore a factor in using video as evidence.
To receive data from a remote computer system and save it in a local computer system. The inverse of download is “upload.”
The earliest generation or highest-quality output of a video from which duplicates are made.
The archival principle of maintaining files in the same order they were created. Original order is important to preserve context and the relationship between individual files, so that you can make sense of each file and of the whole. Keeping files in their original context makes them more complete and reliable.
The quality of being whole, unaltered, and uncorrupted. A file that is not intact may not be usable or may have decreased informational and evidential value. Videos files can lose their integrity if they are accidentally mishandled, deliberately tampered with, or if data corruption occurs in transfer or storage due to hardware or software malfunction. The best way to ensure integrity is to establish a system to check file fixity regularly (e.g. by computing hashes and checking them against a registry of previously computed hashes) and to restore any corrupted files from an intact copy.