Start Here: How to Use this Guide

This Guide is organized into 8 sections focused on stages in a video archiving workflow:

The Workflow: CreateCreate The Workflow: TransferTransfer The Workflow: AcquireAcquire The Workflow: OrganizeOrganize
The Workflow: StoreStore The Workflow: CatalogCatalog The Workflow: PreservePreserve The Workflow: ShareShare

Stages in a video archiving workflow.

Are you looking for information about a specific topic or stage of archiving, such as metadata, storage devices, or cataloging? Jump in via any of the Workflow topics or look at the "Key Concepts" page.

Not Sure Where to Begin?

If you are unsure how to incorporate the video archiving stages above into your current situation, one place to start is to chart your current video workflow.  A workflow is a map of processes and roles for activities that require multiple actions and usually more than one person. Visualizing how you or your organization works can help you build and improve on the way you get things done. See the scenario below for an example of a workflow.

Once you map your existing workflow, it will be easier to see where the archiving stages can fit in. In some cases, it might just mean making slight changes to something you are already doing. In other cases, it might mean introducing entirely new steps in your workflow. Everyone’s workflows are different, and everyone will incorporate these archiving stages in different ways.

As you read through this Guide, you will be able to determine what you can easily incorporate and what might take more planning. Do not become discouraged! Building an archiving workflow takes time, but every small step you take along the way contributes to the survival of your videos and increases their ability to be used in the future. 


An Activist Media Center

The Activist Media Center has an efficient workflow for getting newsworthy videos online in a timely manner, but has not given much thought to the videos’ long-term usability up to now.

An efficient workflow for getting videos online, but not for long-term usability.

As they collect more and more videos, the Media Center starts to see the potential value of the collection to future legal cases, and as a historical record of events. However, the way they have organized their videos is not consistent, and only one person really knows how to find the older videos. They also realize that media outlets are having a hard time verifying their videos, and that it would be hard for the Media Center to prove that its videos are authentic. Then, one day, someone accidentally drops a cup of coffee onto one of the hard drives and it immediately stops working. Because the Media Center does not have a backup copy, the videos on that drive are permanently lost.

In an effort to improve their practices, the Media Center adds some archive-minded steps to their workflow:

  • The Videographer notes important metadata for each video, such as date, location, hash value and her name, in a document that she includes with her videos on the encrypted USB stick.
  • After receiving and decrypting the USB stick, the Media Center offloads the original files to its primary storage.
  • The Media Center organizes the videos and makes backup copies on 2 additional hard drives.
  • The Media Center makes a catalog record for each video in a database, expanding on the metadata provided by the videographer, to make the videos findable.
  • The Media Center adds detailed titles and descriptions to its YouTube videos, and provides descriptions along with videos to news outlets.
  • Instead of transcoding videos during offload, the Video Editor makes transcoded copies from the offloaded original files.
  • The Video Editor outputs a full quality master of her edited video in addition to the lower quality output she uploads to YouTube.

A few steps are added to the video workflow to improve the long-term usability of the videos.

Ready to Start?

In the menu, look under “The Workflow” to find out more about the stages in the video archiving process.  Start with “Create” and follow along, or jump to any particular stage you want to learn more about.