Preserving Video

Other Preservation Options

You may have reasons for not wanting to deposit your collection at an established archival institution. Besides working with an archive, two other available options are to establish your own archive, and/or deposit your collection with a unique non-profit called the Internet Archive.

Establishing Your Own Archive

It is challenging, but not impossible, to establish and sustain an archive on your own or with a network of like-minded organizations. This option requires significant ongoing infrastructure, human resources, and financial support.

Establishing an archive involves building a repository, developing archive policies and procedures, and performing the day-to-day work of acquiring, cataloging, preserving, and providing access to users.


OAIS Reference Model is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard that defines archive concepts and establishes the minimum requirements for an archive.


Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories provides metrics for measuring the trustworthiness of your digital repository.

Internet Archive-backed Archive

Internet ArchiveThe Internet Archive is a unique non-profit digital library that allows the public to upload and download digital material at no charge. Its mission is to provide permanent access to historical content in digital format. The Internet Archive holds approximately 10 petabytes of digital material in datacenters in California, USA and at Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.

You can use the Internet Archive as a way to store, preserve, and provide access to your videos. You can upload videos simply by setting up an account on the website. It is also possible to create sub-collections through special arrangement with Internet Archive.  Videos hosted by Internet Archive can be easily embedded in other websites. With some technical expertise, it is also possible to build a GUI client for Internet Archive’s S3-like API to upload your videos and descriptions.

Some important notes about the Internet Archive:

  • Anything uploaded to the Internet Archive is accessible (i.e. streamable and downloadable) by anyone. You can choose to apply a Creative Commons license to your videos to designate how people can use your video, but this will not prevent anyone from simply viewing or downloading a copy.
  • Internet Archive provides storage, preservation, and access, but it does not provide any cataloging or description to make your videos findable. You must upload your own descriptions along with the video. You can include as much metadata or as many related documents as you wish.
  • Unlike YouTube and other video sharing platforms, Internet Archive does not transcode your video (except to make additional access copies), and allows anyone to download your original file.
  • You retain the ownership over the content you upload; the Internet Archive does not assert any rights. If you upload content you do not have the rights to, however, be forewarned that the Internet Archive may remove it if it receives a valid complaint.
  • 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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