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- The Archives Association of British Columbia has a brief
format guide on Optical Disc Media at: www.aabc.bc.ca/aabc/toolkit_preservation_conservation_
- The AABC is a charitable organization
committed to the preservation of British Columbia’s documentary history. The
Association is part of the Canadian Council of Archives and represents archival
institutions in British Columbia in this forum. The Archivist’s Toolkit section
of this site provides links to international sites—such as the Public Records
Office of Northern Ireland, Sound Archives/Nga Taonga Koreno of New Zealand,
and Ontario Museum Notes—which generally outline their preservation policies
and discuss format issues. This Optical Disc Media guide covers a variety
of CD formats including CD-R, CD-RW, and WORM (Write-Once Read-Many).
- CBC Archives (television): archives.cbc.ca/info/281g_en41.shtml
- This site, part of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation,
provides historic information, offering audio and video clips recorded by
CBC Television and Radio. This television-specific format guide starts
with the Kinescopes of the 1950s and moves forward to cover 2” tape, 1,” 3/4,”
U-Matic, VHS videotape, and analog and digital Betacam.
- Digital Preservation Coalition’s online handbook has a format
and media section at: www.dpconline.org/graphics/medfor/index.html.
- DPC is an organization addressing the preservation of digital
resources in the United Kingdom. This site provides an online edition of
the DPC handbook, Preservation Management of Digital Materials. The format/media section includes
general information on magnetic and optical media formats, and a chart that
lists lifetimes for D3 magnetic tape, DLT magnetic tape cartridge, CD/DVD,
and CD-ROMs at five different storage temperatures.
- EMG has a format guide found at: http://www.paulmessier.com/VideoID/.
- This guide is the product of a collaborative effort between Sarah Stauderman,
Preservation Manager at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and Paul Messier,
Conservator at Boston Art Conservation, with images provided by the VidiPax
Museum of A/V Technology. It breaks down videotape formats into three
time periods: 1956–1970, 1970–1985, and 1985 to the –present,
offering thumbnails of each period’s most prevalent formats, obsolescence
ratings (for example: threatened, critically endangered, extinct, vulnerable,
or lower risk), and manufacturers. Brief narratives about the formats and
additional photos are also available. Formats included range from 2”
Quadruplex to EIAJ Type 1 to V-Cord, Betamax, and VHS to D-2, Hi8, and Digital-S.
- Film Forever: www.filmforever.org
(for small-gauge film)
- Film Forever, a web resource sponsored by AMIA, focuses on private collection
films (particularly small-gauge film) and offers strategies for preservation,
particularly home storage. Its extensive format guide covers film specifics
in stocks and soundtracks: film bases (nitrate, acetate, and polyester), black
and white versus color, reversal versus negative, and soundtracks (Super/8mm,
Soundtrack-Picture Displacement, and Magnetic). The site also includes a table
for Kodak Edge Codes (also available as a PDF).
- Library of Congress MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging): www.loc.gov/marc/status.html
- Machine-Readable Cataloging allows bibliographic, classification,
and other data to be encoded read and interpreted by a computer, allowing
for standardized cataloging of library resources. The site includes extensive
format documentation guidelines for all areas of cataloging, such as bibliographic,
holdings, classification, and community information formats.
- Little Film: small-gauge format guide at www.littlefilm.org
- Little Film, a project of Brodsky & Treadway, a commercial
film-to-tape transfer service, is an informational site dedicated to the preservation
of recreational/hobbyist/noncommercial films—often referred to as home movies.
Their format guide covers 9.5mm, 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8. They offer an easy
guide to identifying film with thumbnails of the formats. In addition, each
format’s section has a brief narrative detailing the time of its popularity
and its most common usages (home movies, cartoons, etc.).
- The National Archives and Records Administration has an
archival format guide at www.archives.gov/preservation/archival_formats/archival_formats.html.
- The National Archives and Records Administration
is charged with providing access to documents on the rights of American citizens,
the actions of federal officials, and “the national experience.” Their format
guide addresses general archival topics rather than specific video preservation
- Universal Preservation Format Home: info.wgbh.org/upf/
- The Universal Preservation Format is designed to eliminate a need for a universal
acquisition format. This homepage includes a PDF that explains how the Universal
Preservation Format works and details its usefulness in archiving media and
electronic records. While this project is currently inactive, the web site
provides a good source of information on the subject.
- VidiPax: www.vidipax.com (video and
audio format guides)
- Vidipax is a commercial magnetic media restoration
company. The Vidipax videotape format guide is a survey of all National Television
System Committee formats commercially introduced since 1956. It includes images,
format descriptions, and technical specifications for each format. The audio
format guide contains an interactive mapping of the development of audio technology
across cylinder, disc, magnetic, optical, and solid-state formats from 1859
to the present. This site provides a solid overview of the history and technical
aspects of NTSC formats.