Most archivists, librarians, and digital preservation folks love metadata — and we at the Archives are no exception. Metadata is the sort of invisible information stored within or alongside a digital copy of something like a cool, older video about a NASA space flight. Metadata allows us to keep track of things in a detailed way. It will help us make preservation decisions in the future, and makes for a better search experience for researchers. So we care about how it is entered and stored and how we can view it.
The National Archives digitization team along with contractors AudioVisual Preservation Solutions(AVPS) and members of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) have developed resources related to metadata for digitized videos. We are excited to share them with the community of archives, libraries, galleries, and museums. We hope they will find them useful and that other teams in the digital preservation field will continue to enhance the tools.
Why did we develop these resources? Well, our staff has been “reformatting” or digitizing a good number of archival videos that are on tape and creating digital copies of them. We wanted to be able to capture information (metadata) about the original video format like the make and model of playback and capture equipment. Our team was also interested in how we could pull this embedded metadata back out of the digital files so we could compare or edit the metadata for numerous files at once.
What do the resources do? The first, AVI MetaEdit, inserts essential metadata into selected video files such as information about how the file was made. The second, called reVTMD, is structure to organize important technical information, such as how big the image is or how fast it should be playing, in a reusable XML format. Finally, reVTMD is now incorporated into an existing open source tool called MediaInfo. This new functionality allows you to view and export metadata from a wide variety of video files into the reVTMD organizational structure.
If you have any feedback, questions, or ideas related to the tools, or you build on their capabilities, we’d love to hear from you here on the blog, on our GitHub site, or at DigitizationServices@nara.gov.