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‘Excellent’ rating for Presto4U at final EU review

EU-funded project Presto4U has just had its final review. The project had two main goals: to identify useful research results in the digital Audiovisual preservation domain and to raise awareness and improve adoption of these results, by technology and service providers as well as media owners. The core group of 14 PrestoCentre member organisations can be very proud: all objectives and goals were achieved, and even exceeded expectations.

The Presto4U project has been promoting the long-term preservation of audiovisual media in the digital age. Its focus has been on creating awareness of possible threats to the survival of such media in nine defined communities of collection holders (CoPs), on establishing what the concerns and needs of these CoPs regarding preservation were, on spreading knowledge about solutions to these problems, on evaluating relevant research outputs in this field, on promoting the development of technology and the adoption of standards aimed at supporting digital audiovisual preservation and on establishing a forum where the various interest groups (collection holders, vendors, technology service providers etc.) can interact.

The project has succeeded in establishing a strong support platform for the preservation community via close cooperation with the PrestoCentre, which was used as an effective means to disseminate project outputs and as the platform upon which sustainable exploitation of project results would be based. Leveraging amd supporting the PrestoCentre in this way helped to consolidate the PrestoCentre’s reputation as a competence centre for digital preservation of audiovisual media. The Standards Register, Tool Catalogue and Tech Watch reports are available to the member community from the PrestoCentre website along with other valuable sources of information which are targeted both at experts and those just becoming familiar with the technical issues surrounding preservation.

Among other things, a study was conducted to determine to what degree standards are being implemented across the nine CoPs and this included some CoP case studies to indicate which aspects of the preservation workflow are particularly important in terms of standards. One case study concerned the digitisation of a music collection at INA and another, a video-tape digitisation project at RAI. An interesting conclusion was that sharing professional experience rather than looking to established international standards is the preferred mode of operation in most CoPs. There is clear value for the community in relating experience and needs to standards, and in referencing applications in a case study approach. This would help collection managers to profit from lessons learned and contacts with Digital Production Partnerships in the UK were established to find out more about how the idea of partnerships and mentoring could be made to work. As an example of such a partnership, the case study from the DAVID project was presented (CubeTec developed and validated a tool to automatically repair a batch of defect video files generated in a previous ORF project).

The project carried out typical dissemination activities, such as regular updating of the CoPs and producing new project marketing collateral. In addition the project organized specific dissemination and awareness building events. These included 11 webinars (with 50 attendees for each) which were oversubscribed, 4 Community of Practice workshops and 3 Preservathons (with approx. 30-35 attendees for each) in Turin, Brussels and Paris. The first Preservathon was conceived as a two-day “hands on” event including an interactive workshop for group discussions, roleplaying, presentations, writing an RFI (Request for Information) or RFP (Request for Proposal) and negotiation exercises, followed by a mini-conference/workshop. The other two Preservathons were focused around specific targeted topics, specifically: selecting the best services and tools for an audiovisual digitisation project and selecting the best technology partners and service providers for a multimedia asset management system. The Preservathons are an excellent concept and a highlight of the project’s activities. The Presto Centre website provided updates on project developments, which ranged from interviews, blogs and tech watch reports at regular intervals.

As a result of the project’s work the PrestoCentre membership structure was completely reorganized e.g. through the introduction of lower fees and the possibility to sign up as a free member, along with premium services offerings, such as PrestoBroker. The contributions of consortium members to the development of standards related to digital preservation of audiovisual media will ensure long-term impact. Market Place has been launched on the Presto Centre website and the brokerage service (Presto Broker) has been completed and is ready for implementation. This will promote standards and tools that meet requirements of audiovisual preservation, and thereby help spread their adoption. Through the establishment of CoPs and by relating the project outcomes directly to the needs of these groups, the project has succeeded in increasing awareness not only about the threats to audio-visual heritage in the digital age, but also to the ways to avoid and combat these problems.

The sustainability plan foresees continued cooperation between consortium members in a Presto Innovation Group, which will continue to produce tech watch reports and white papers and maintain its contacts with international groups working on standards and technology.

Links with other projects and programmes: the project has established good collaborative links with other relevant EU projects, with two such collaborations in particular worth mentioning:

A co-operation agreement was drawn up and signed between Presto4U and APARSEN to share non-confidential results and participate in joint dissemination and promotional activities.

  • The DAVID project was promoted on the Presto4U website and the projects collaborated on AV preservation metadata models.
  • A collaboration was initiated between Sony Inc., Front Porch Digital and the project at the Presto4U Storage Preservathon event, with very positive feedback from the industry partners and with potential for a follow-on funded activity.

Read the Presto4U blog on the final results.

Project partners: