Creating and Archiving Born Digital Video Part III. High Level Recommended Practices



Introduction ; Part 1. Advice for File Creators: Plan for High Quality Video Files and Metadata, Create the Highest Quality Video Files You Can Afford to Make and Maintain ; Part 2. Advice for File Archivists: Document Provenance and Relationships, Understand the Impacts of Changing Technical Characteristics, Use Stable and Managed Digital Storage ; Advice for File Creators and File Archivists: Create and Use Metadata to Facilitate Life Cycle Management, Selecting File Formats (Wrappers, Containers and/or Encodings), Plan for Access


This is one of four documents examining aspects of the current practice for creating and and archiving born digital video at selected institutional members of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative Audio-Visual Working Group.

The three companion documents are:

Creating and Archiving Born Digital Video I: Introduction (Version 1.0, 9/8/14)

Creating and Archiving Born Digital Video II: Eight Federal Case Histories (Version 1.0,9/8/14) 

Creating and Archiving Born Digital Video IV: Resource Guide (Version 1.0, 9/8/14


This document outlines a set of high level Recommended Practices (RP) for creating andarchiving born digital video. Each RP includes the rationale which explains why the FADGI members endorse this practice as well as how the RP is reflected in the accompanying case histories. Some RPs also include examples or other notes. The Recommended Practices are intentionally high level and not intended to be comprehensive. They reflect the range of choices encountered by the eight case history projects but do not cover every issue that other projects might encounter when creating or archiving born digital video. The Recommended Practices aim to highlight the advantages of selecting one option over another when choices are available. They are also tightly scoped to issues pertinent to creating and archiving born digital video. Concerns common to digital preservation as a whole, such as consistent file naming protocols or repository actions, are not addressed.


The Recommended Practices are organized into three groups: The first, Advice for File Creators also known as “advice for shooters,” focuses on providing video content producers, including videographers and, by extension, the project managers within cultural heritage institutions who are responsible for the creation new born digital video files, with a set of practices that emphasize the benefits of aiming for high quality and planning for archival repository ingest from the point of file creation. The goal here is to emphasize the benefits of planning for archival repository ingest from the point of file creation. These Recommended Practices are aimed not just at videographers and camera operators, but also at the project managers, archivists, metadata specialists and technologists who develop Statements of Work and oversee project plans.


Advice for File Archivists seeks to provide guidance about video-specific issues which come into play when ingesting the files into a managed storage repository. These Recommended Practices are aimed at digital preservationists including archivists, librarians, digital asset managers, and other staff within cultural heritage institutions that receive born digital video from creators and inherit the responsibility of describing, preserving, and providing access to those files. These include retaining essential camera-created data and making changes to acquired files (e.g., migrate or normalize file formats). The Recommended Practices offer recommendations on safe storage practices, choosing sustainable formats, embedding metadata, and configuring workflows for systems interoperability to allow File Archivists to plan for future migration and support.


Advice for File Creators and File Archivists are grouped together because they transcend specific life cycle points. This guidance focuses on selecting sustainable encodings and wrappers whether at initial file creation or during normalization upon ingest. These include RPs related to selecting encodings or wrappers for digital video, either at the point of initial capture on the camera or for normalizing to a common file format to meet business needs. Other RPs in this category include advice for creating and harvesting metadata in sustainable and structured ways to facilitate downstream workflows. Metadata creation starts at the point of file creation and continues through repository ingest. Each Recommended Practice includes a rationale, and example of what it is referring to (sometimes with references to the Resource Guide) and references to how this recommended practice was or was not accommodated in the eight case histories.

It is recommended that the reader first read the Introduction to all four documents. 


This is an essential resource for any archive managing born digital video content. Although the authors emphasize that it is ‘high level’, the inclusion of clear definitions, rationales and specific examples from a diverse set of case studies makes it more applicable in practice than ‘high level’ implies. It could also be useful to staff looking for sound arguments to justify required workflow implementations that ensure proper long-term preservation and as a tool for archivists who need need to develop more insight into the impact their decision making may have on proper digital life cycle management. 

Beth Delaney