Category Archives: Preservation

Spotlight on volunteers – Kaitlin Haley

Kaitlin Haley began volunteering at the Archives in the summer of 2012. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at UBC in history and political science in 2010, she worked as a flight attendant, taking a break from school and deciding on a graduate studies program. An interest in archives and libraries lead her to us. Like many of our other volunteers, Kaitlin has given of her time generously elsewhere including lifeguarding for the World Police and Firefighter Games, running activities at the Musqueam Reading Club and facilitating and helping to organize events for the Beauty Night Society.

Kaitlin at UBC holding her B.A.

Kaitlin at UBC holding her B.A.

After being accepted to several archival and library schools across Canada, Kaitlin chose the program farthest from this coast, Halifax. She will be earning a Master of Library and Information Studies at Dalhousie starting in 2014. Her choice to defer for a year will allow her to continue working for the UN as a flight attendant. Between stints in Africa, which she is currently visiting, we hope Kaitlin will find some down time to visit us before she goes jetting off again! Continue reading

2012 Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference

In early December, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Seattle. Here are a few of the highlights.

Cinerama street view

The Cinerama has been restored to its 1963 space-age look. A showing of “Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock” was a highlight outside of the conference program. Photograph: Sue Bigelow

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a professional association for those involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.

Ffmpeg workshop

There was an excellent workshop on uses of ffmpeg for archivists. Ffmpeg is open source, free software for working with multimedia files. One of the advantages for archives is that ffmpeg is always adding the capability of working with new types of files, but not getting rid of any old functionality. This means that if archivists encounter an outdated type of file, ffmpeg may be able to work with it. Ffmpeg software can analyze a file and report on all the different kinds of data inside. We store the original files in our digital archives but we also create another version using ffmpeg that can be viewed on a modern computer. Continue reading

Spotlight on volunteers: David Marriott

David Marriott began volunteering at the Archives last September and in that time has dedicated around 300 hours to the Archives! David holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a major in Film Production from Concordia University’s  Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. David is the writer/director of numerous short films including Dapper (2007), winner of The Muse Entertainment Enterprises Scholarship, and Dreamland (2009), winner of the Special Jury Mention, Festival des Films de la Relève . His most recent film is the short Backlot (2012). In 2010, David co-created the Black and White Film Foundation, a non-profit screening black and white films at the J.A. De Seve Theatre.

David at our 2011 screening, “Celebrating Yaletown Productions” at the Vancity Theatre.

At the Archives, David has had the opportunity to work on many projects. The Celebrating Yaletown Productions screening was a special event for which he helped design advertising and event materials. David also had the opportunity to sit in the editing suite with Michael Collier, the donor and curator, while the Digibeta tape for the show was being created. This summer David is helping with our screening for 2012. He will not be in town to enjoy the fruits of his labours, but if you will be here mark November 18th on your calendar now for Vintage Vancouver! Continue reading

DigCCurr 2012

This past May, I was fortunate to participate in the DigCCurr Professional Institute on Curation Practices for the Digital Object Lifecycle at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Led by UNC-CH faculty members Dr. Helen Tibbo and Dr. Christopher (Cal) Lee and taught by digital curation experts, the DigCCurr Institute brings together government, university, and private-sector information professionals for a week’s study of strategies and methods for the long-term management of digital materials.

DigCCurr 2012 instructors and participants on the last day of the Institute

Of the 35 participants in the Institute, I was the only municipal government employee; other participants came from institutions as diverse as the Yukon Archives, the University of Melbourne, the Silicon Valley-based Computer History Museum, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Despite our institutions’ respective differences in size, location, and acquisition mandate, the results of the pre-institute survey that participants completed showed similarities in both the nature of our holdings and the difficulties we face in caring for them. Continue reading

Using Archivematica

UPDATE, February 18, 2015: Our January 2012 post linked to an article on opensourcearchiving.org. As the content on that domain is no longer available, we are reproducing the article below. Our original post is at the very bottom of this page.Archivematica-logo

 

The City of Vancouver Archives has been contributing to the development of the Archivematica digital preservation system for the past several years and we have just started using the 0.8 alpha release for production. This is an overview of why we got involved and where we are now. Continue reading

The Archivist Detective – Digital Forensics for Archivists

It was a day just like any other at the City Archives. Archivists and researchers spoke in whispers as they gently leafed through decades-old memoranda and Kodachrome photographs. Just then, at the front desk, a mysterious stranger appeared with a hard drive and a look that said she wanted to donate it. When she couldn’t answer how much data was on the drive or how it was formatted, it was clear that this day would not be normal after all and… it would not be easy.

Examples of digital storage media - Photo by Danny Nicholson, CC BY-ND 2.0 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dannynic/6282154645/sizes/z/in/photostream/)

Archives Manager Heather Gordon likes to say that being an archivist is like “playing detective”. There has always been an aspect of detective work in what archivists do—from digging through boxes left abandoned in a garage searching for records to helping researchers find the documentation that helps them accomplish their work. In the age of digital acquisitions, her statement couldn’t be more true. Unlike their physical analogue counterparts, donations that come to us in folders on digital media can’t be easily leafed through and assessed at first glance. Those folders and their contents are made of bits that don’t have meaning without some kind of hardware and/or software intermediary. Continue reading

2011 Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference

A few weeks ago, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists in Austin, Texas. Here are a few of the highlights.

Austin calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World and there are performance stages everywhere. This is the live stage at the Whole Foods flagship store.

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a professional association for those involved in all aspects of the preservation and access of moving image heritage, including those from film and digital labs, production studios and archives both large and small. It’s a friendly, active group with members from all over the world. Continue reading

Celebrating “Hollywood North”: Yaletown Productions Inc. fonds

Since the late 1970s “Hollywood North” has been used to describe the film industry in Canada, specifically Vancouver. Until recently, we had very little in our holdings that reflected this important aspect of Vancouver’s past. A step toward changing that was taken with the recent acquisition of the records of Yaletown Productions Inc.In 2010, Michael Collier donated a large volume of moving image, audio, textual and digital records to the Archives. The fonds spans the more than forty years that Collier spent as a producer and director in the Vancouver film industry. Beginning with his first experimental films created while completing a degree in physics at SFU, as a member of Stan Fox’s Student Film Workshop in the late 1960s, the collection encompasses Collier’s film career up to early this century.

Sneak peek
To give you an idea of some of the moving image materials now in the Archives, we have put a few short clips on YouTube.  Here you can find excerpts from our November 6th screening.

Yaletown Productions Inc. won the contract to produce the internationally distributed commercials promoting Expo 86. Not only can you now find these commercials at the Archives, Continue reading

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

October 27 is UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, and this year’s theme is “Audiovisual heritage: see, hear and learn”. To celebrate we’d like to showcase a few of the moving images we’ve preserved, and introduce our Internet Archive Partner Page for Film.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage logo Continue reading

A Day in the Lives of 2 Archivists Gone Digital

Digitizing video for preservation and access (Cindy McLellan)

 The City of Vancouver is an exciting city to be a part of at the moment for many reasons. Celebrate Vancouver 125 events have been taking place throughout 2011 all over the city to celebrate 125 years since Vancouver’s incorporation in 1886. The City is involved with the open government movement, with Vancouver’s open data catalogue, now over one year old being one open information source. Setting the goal of being the greenest city by 2020, Vancouver is asking its citizens to contribute their ideas and make lasting changes.

From my position at the City of Vancouver Archives I mention these broad City initiatives because they have important commonalities: collaboration, innovation, and interdisciplinary participation. Working as a Digital Archivist I see all three of these characteristics as key to any successful digital archives project. At the Archives we are involved in ICA-Atom and Archivematica development, both collaborative and innovative projects that require input from multiple disciplines. Multiple memory institutions, archivists, programmers, designers and researchers have all contributed unique and necessary input to these open source projects.

Hybrids: Approach with caution and other smart people

I was hired in March to arrange and describe the Yaletown Productions Inc. fonds, which consists of the records of a local film production company. The records date from company director Michael Collier’s university days in 1969, as a member of the Simon Fraser University Film Workshop, under Stan Fox, to 2001 television show proposals stored on a computer hard drive. In addition to having both paper and digital records (which archivists call a “hybrid” fonds), this donation includes hundreds of hours of film and video material consisting of raw footage, completed productions, and everything in between. It has been my challenge to appraise, digitize, preserve, arrange, describe, and make available to the public these materials in all their various formats. Much of this work involved the straightforward application of archival theory and practice.

Part rabbit part antelope hybrid

Photograph by Mark Freeman (Free-ers on flickr). Hybrids, at first glance may seem to be cute and cuddly creatures, upon further investigation however, these unpredictable monsters, born of uncontrolled digital environments are actually quite frightening. Approach with caution and a team of knowledgeable people.

In the detailed planning required for digital preservation, no one should labour alone. The atmosphere among those with this responsibility is one of sharing. Staying in touch through wikis, blogs, our time together at conferences, listservs, and simply being a small and active community, digital archivists need not, and should not, Continue reading