During the peak of the classical age, Alexandria was the cultural lighthouse of the Western world. The Egyptian city led the science and art trends thanks to its cultural and scientific agora. This frenetic activity gravitated towards a building, a place where archivists glossed the papyrus shelves containing all the knowledge of the time. We are talking about the Library of Alexandria.
If this building were still standing nowadays (several fires destroyed it after decades of abandonment), digital audiovisual content files would be included. Since its invention, video has become an essential knowledge and cultural transfer format. Therefore, in 2005 UNESCO proclaimed the commemoration of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on October 27th. With this celebration, the organization pointed to the relevance of Media Preservation of this cultural, social and historical material.
Nowadays, video is key for education, public institutions and our daily activities, as well as essential to document our history. We can visit any WWII battle or historical events from the 20th century thanks to the video files that were recorded and filed. Furthermore, anyone can film any historical event nowadays thanks to smartphones. It is fundamental to preserve and catalog this Media for future generations to have reliable testimonies of history.
But that is not all video has achieved during this past century. It climbed to the Olympus of Art thanks to Cinema and Series. We can all recall masterpieces that are part of our cultural legacy. The film libraries and video archives work to preserve this art and give their best to save them from the tragic fate of the papyrus from the Library of Alexandria.
To avoid this disaster, documentalists worldwide work day by day to improve their archives. Digitalization of old files, a better catalog, and innovating with new metadata tools using AI are some of the actual trends. Each year, the top profiles of Media Asset Management gather together in the FIAT/IFTA Annual Conference to discuss and share the current advances.
Capitalizing on the audiovisual heritage
RTVE and BBC are two good examples of how a broadcaster can benefit from its archive, as they are public companies with a long history. The efforts of their documentalists allow their archives to witness the advances of British and Spanish society and the main historical events from both countries. This is an ongoing work, as both corporations are constantly trying to improve their archive with the latest technologies. For example, RTVE has been recently working with VSN on the application of Artificial Intelligent for automated content segmentation.
RTVE and BBC programs and professionals benefit from this effort. Both networks include a lot of content from their archive on their news and magazines to revisit their history. Recently, the BBC has gone a step further with the BBC Archives project. During the digitalization process of the network’s broadcasting history, some of these collections were uploaded to the BBC’s website. Viewers from all over the world can now enjoy any piece of an archive with over 15 million items available.
It is essential to have a well-preserved archive with a state-of-the-art MAM system like VSNExplorer MAM to facilitate access to this collection. Such a software solution allows us to catalog, search, locate, publish, distribute, preview and archive any kind of audiovisual content.
Thanks to MAM systems and thousands of documentalists, we can say that our audiovisual heritage is safe from disaster, but not completely. Therefore, it is necessary to remark the importance of Media Preservation every October 27th. We do not have a Library of Alexandria to host all the world’s knowledge, but we can confidently rely on audiovisual archives all over the planet.
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