Selection & Cataloging

Audience

Traditionally, analog collections have been built for the convenience or the interests of the owner of the collection.  In many cases what starts as a personal collection will develop broader purpose beyond this original intended use. In any regard, in planning the digitization of a collection, the perspective of the end-user is critical.  “Who will want to use this collection?  How will users search this collection?” are essential questions that you will need to address early on in the planning process.  Your unintended audience might even be wider than the one that you anticipate, and the better you can provide for the users of your project (both current and future), the more effective it will be.

Scope

In defining the scope of the project, consider a realistic, manageable number of videos. Each video collection should be culled for duplicates, undesirable videos of poor quality or inappropriate content, or content protected by copyright, etc.

In some instances, even though you have a number of videos that you wish to convert, acquiring them through license or purchase may be a more efficient approach to developing digital resources than digitizing a collection personally, and in many cases, it is not permitted to digitize commercially available videos, even if they are out of production or no longer available. The College Library acquires substantial video resources, for example, and other licensing and vendor options may provide alternatives to “doing it yourself.”  IT can provide advice and refer you to library staff who are knowledgeable about Library resources and copyright.

Intended use of videos

How your digital videos will be used is crucial to the planning process.  Consider uses over the long term, since the digitization and/or capture specifications that you choose will eventually define the optimal output quality of your video.   

Commercial production, classroom projection, Web display, streaming or hosting, all require choices about file format, encoding, compression, and camera type.  By anticipating the intended end-use before the video is created or digitized, it is possible to choose specifications that will result in satisfactory video quality without squandering resources such as time and network storage.

Quality Control

Quality control is one of the most critical aspects of any digitization process and in fact applies throughout the life of a video. Workflows need to be identified and established to ensure consistency in video capture (conversion, digital videography, purchase of videos), metadata and controlled vocabularies, and video editing. Although originally written to address digital image quality control, the following selection from the Getty Research Institute's Introduction to Digital Imaging applies equally well to quality control as it relates to digital video:

“Consistent image-capture guidelines and parameters should be established, and scans must be periodically reviewed and checked for accuracy, ideally against the source material, whether they are produced in-house or supplied by a vendor. Although automatic scanning is generally consistent, problems with exposure, alignment, and color balance occur often enough to require a quality-control component in any scanning program. Without quality control, it will not be possible to guarantee the integrity and consistency of the resulting digital image files… Records need to be proofread and mechanisms such as controlled vocabularies utilized to ensure consistent data entry. Additionally, relationships between cataloguing records and image files need to be verified and/or developed.

Quality control must also be applied to all access files derived from master images and to all preservation copies made, on whatever media, as mistakes and technical errors can often be introduced during the process of duplication or migration. Files should be checked to ensure that all are correctly named, not corrupted, and so on.”

Cataloging

Cataloging digital video promotes efficient retrieval and increases the likelihood that the digital collection will continue to be accessible and useful over time. Cataloging is best accomplished by creating a database of records that describe each video (metadata).  If the collection contains or will eventually contain more than 50 video files, cataloging is necessary.

“Metadata” reflect information about your videos that can be represented in a database.  These data can include very simple descriptive information like the creator, title, or topic of a particular video; technical information about a digital video like file name, aspect ratio, file format, etc.; and management information like rights of use, ownership, and copyright.

These “metadata” descriptors make it possible to search and retrieve specific videos, and they help in the management and organization of groups of digital videos.  Assigning and entering these data into a data base consistently will allow you and other users to organize and search your video collections efficiently. 

Metadata Standards

To promote reliable searching and basic media and file management practices, Bowdoin College recommends the use of the Public Broadcasting Core (PBCore) descriptive metadata standard for moving images.  This standard is based on Dublin Core (see Bowdoin recommended metadata standards for digital still images) but has greater complexity, incorporating more technical fields and the ability to encompass description of multiple physical and digital formats of the same media item. The PBCore allows for a wide range of detail, from very simple to extremely specific. Use of the PBCore standard assures consistency and reliability for indexing, retrieving, and managing data for immediate applications and over time.

See http://www.pbcore.org/ for more detailed descriptions and examples.

Field
*Required?
Definition
Examples
PBCore element
DC Element
Descriptive and Administrative Metadata
Metadata record ID
M
(PBC M)
Unique ID of record of metadata descriptions for a media item Record ID in digital asset management system; may be automatically generated
identifier (01.01)
No equivalent
Metadata record creator
M
(PBC M)
Agency, institution or individual that assigns Metadata record ID Bowdoin College Library
identifierSource (01.02)
No equivalent
Date created
M
Date of capture/creation Filming date, digitization date; 2008/08/04
identifier (01.01)
No equivalent
Creator or Author
MA
An entity responsible for the creation of the work Filmmaker; director
creator(15.01)
creator
Title
M
Formal name given to the work or brief caption for untitle work Eskimo Life in South Greenland; Bowdoin College Commencement
title (02.01)
title
Administrative control
M
An entity responsible for the content of the work Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum
rightsSummary(18.01)
rights
IP Rights
MA
Information about the copyright and related intellectual property rights Name of copyright holder; terms defining use and governing access to the work
rightsSummary(18.01)
rights
Description
M
(PBC M)
Brief summary of the content of the work Free text narrative of the contents and/or context of the media
Description (4.01)
description
Keyword
O
Topic of the content Topical keywords or controlled vocabulary
subject(3.01)
subject
Publisher
O
An entity responsible for making the work available A person; a department or office; the College
publisher(17.01)
publisher
Language
R
Primary language of media's audio or text French, Anglo-Saxon
language(25.22)
language
Use
O
Intended audience Class no.; project name
audienceLevel(18.01)
audience
Location
M
(PBC M)
Location of media URL; shelf location
formatLocation(25.05)
No equivalent
Technical Metadata
Media Identifier
M
(PBC M)
Unique identifier of media item such as file name or call number BV583
filename.mp4
formatIdentifier (25.25.1)
identifier
Media Identifier Source
M
(PBC M)
Agency, institution or individual that assigns Media ID Bowdoin College. IT
formatIdentifierSource(25.25.2)
No equivalent
Physical Format
M
Physical medium MiniDV, DigiBeta, DVD
formatPhysical(25.03)
format - medium
Digital Format
M
Identify format of media item as it exists in digital format mpeg; QuickTime
formatDigital(25.04)
format
Media type
M
General descriptor of the kind of media Video; Moving Image
formatMediaType 
(25.06)
type
Generation of Media
MA
original, master, copy Preservation master, original footage
formatGenerations 
(25.07)
format
Format Standard
M
Identify larger system/technical standard within which media exists NTSC, PAL, MPEG, QuickTime
formatStandard 
(25.08)
relation - conformsTo
Format Encoding
M
How information in media item is compressed, interpreted or formulated MPEG-1
Real Media
formatEncoding 
(25.09)
format
Frame Size
O
For digital files, size in pixels 480i > 720x480 interlaced scan;
1080p > 1920x1080 progressive scan
formatFrameSize 
(25.16)
format - extent
Aspect Ratio
O
Ratio of horizontal to vertical dimensions of frame 4:3
19:9
formatAspectRatio 
(25.17)
format
Recording Equipment
MA
Equipment or software used to create media Make and model of camera; name and version of software
Local Use - No Equivalent
Local Use - No Equivalent


*M= Mandatory          R=Recommended          MA=Mandatory, if applicable          O=Optional

Cataloging Systems

Currently faculty and staff use the following database-driven systems to manage metadata for collections of digital assets: Insight Luna, Extensis Portfolio, Microsoft Expression Media (formerly iView MediaPro). However, some projects may not allow time to develop the skills and cataloging workflow for these specific programs. It is nonetheless still recommended to record metadata associated with each digital asset in some manner. Databases such as Microsoft Access (PC) or Filemaker Pro (Mac) can store this data. Even Microsoft Excel can be used to record metadata, with each column header representing a metadata element and each row representing one descriptive record. Whatever system you use, it is important to back up the database regularly.