Preserving Video


Preservation means ensuring the long-term accessibility of your collection. All of the actions outlined in this guide up to this point are part of the digital preservation process. However, the long-term aspect of preservation requires additional commitment and actions. In most instances, you cannot do this alone. Even the biggest institutions need to collaborate when it comes to preservation.

A Scenario: Partnering with an Archive

The Center for Human Rights produces videos for its campaigns. Over the years, the videos have grown into a large collection, which the organization regularly draws upon in its work. The organization has built its archive up over time, and it now employs an Archivist and has a stable system for managing its collection.

The Center recognizes that its videos have important historical and educational value, but does not have the mandate or resources to provide external access, so no researchers have ever been able to make use of the collection.

Eventually, the Center decides to reach out to Major University Library,  which has a collecting focus on human rights. After some negotiation, the Center agrees to deposit a copy of all of its videos in the library’s digital repository for research, scholarly, and public access. The Center transfers copies of its collection and catalog to the MU Library, while maintaining its in-house archive to support its ongoing campaign work.


Protect sensitive information

If you work with an archive, make sure that you inform the archive of all security restrictions on your videos.

What’s Next

Aspects of Long-Term Preservation
Long-term considerations to keep in mind.

Prioritizing for Preservation
How to maximize limited resources for preservation.

Working with an Archive
What to look for in a potential archive for your collection.

Other Preservation Options
Alternatives to working with an archival institution.

  • 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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