3 Replies to “Welcome to Maryland Public Television”

  1. As a student assistant working in SCUA (but not in the Broadcasting Archive), I was really interested to hear what the Mass Media and Culture division was doing in the way of digital preservation. It sounds like they are off to a solid start when it comes to fixity checking and monitoring the overall life of the files. But obtaining well-rounded and accurate metadata seems to be their main issue. It sounds like doing the research and recording the information can be time consuming, especially with only a handful of part time employees to do it. It’s overwhelmingly common for institutions to have to give up certain vital projects simply because they are short staffed. I hope to see the Mass Media and Culture division get more man power in the near future so they can keep doing the great work that they do.

    1. The division of labor helps a lot here– because the people working in DSS are running a lot of these processes for all divisions at UMD (including where I work, SCPA), there are people dedicated to working on fixity and storage all the time.

      My thought is that perhaps community volunteers / collection of metadata might be useful at some level, particularly for figuring out even rough airdates for some of the shows. Right now, the clips are from a while ago, but not so long ago that the material would be entirely forgotten– perhaps if clips were shared on MPT’s Facebook page, fans of various programs might remember when they aired.

      Coordinating such an effort would take a good number of hours though, and so I think that would only be one of several possible suggestions for allocation of resources. I’m still considering a number of options there.

      An interesting aspect of born-digital vs. digitized content that Dr. Schnitker and I discussed was metadata– while the file formats for born-digital content might cause some problems or require emulation/migration, a lot of them will include at least SOME embedded metadata that will free up hours for her assistants to do other things. So, assuming MPT has moved to digital filming for a number of their programs, that material may free up money and time to serve other purpose or older content.

  2. I find it very interesting that MPT/SCUA seems to have a decent handle on storage and file fixity, while needing more help with metadata and description. In my admittedly limited experience, institutions tend to have the opposite problem – they can handle metadata (which is at its core just archival arrangement and description) but are intimidated by the technical aspects of storage and fixity.

    The division of labour you mention in your comment above goes a long way to explaining it – the project is supported by an IT department that is well versed in digital preservation issues. My client organization has a very similar partner in The Channel’s Production Technology department, though they tend to prioritize everyday use of the files over digital preservation unless the Archive makes a fuss about it :-).

    The other piece is that metadata generation for video is just tough in general. Technical metadata can be extracted automatically but when it comes to content description there is no substitute for simply playing the video in order to figure out what it is. Automatic content recognition is still a long way off, but when that technology matures there might be some relief for this issue.

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